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If you have a brain, you have a reason to join the Alzheimer’s fight

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Mar 2019 blog image.jpgAlzheimer’s disease is a public health crisis. Some 5.7 million Americans are living with it today and that number is projected to grow to nearly 14 million by 2050. It’s the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., killing more Americans than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. I’m leading off with these startling facts and figures to drive home the point that Alzheimer’s is not only a serious condition, it’s more prevalent than you might think.

When it comes to fighting Alzheimer’s, awareness is key. Oftentimes, we choose to ignore – or put off – those things that we associate with end of life. It’s human nature. But the truth is, we don’t have to accept Alzheimer’s as a given if we live to a certain age. It’s not. The more we know about Alzheimer’s today, the better our chances are for early detection and helping to advance research to fight the disease.  

At Home Instead, we care for those with Alzheimer’s across our network. We know all too well how the disease progresses and slowly steals vitality away from the once vital. We know how deeply it affects families. And, most important, we know that there is hope. That hope is built on a wave of awareness that grows with increased volunteerism and funding that fuel research to identify treatments and, just maybe, a cure.

Recently, Lakelyn Hogan, our gerontologist and Alzheimer’s caregiver advocate attended the Alzheimer’s Association’s Leadership Summit in San Antonio, TX to learn even more about the state of our fight against this horrible disease. The short story from that meeting is that we’re making progress. Here are five key take-aways from the summit that give us hope in the fight against Alzheimer’s:  

  1. On Dec. 31, 2018, President Trump signed into law the bipartisan Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. The BOLD Act is all about raising awareness by creating Alzheimer’s Centers of Excellence in communities across the country. These centers will promote effective Alzheimer’s interventions. The act will also provide funding to state and local public health departments to promote cognitive health, risk reduction, early detection and diagnosis, and the needs of caregivers. Additionally, the new law increases collection, analysis and timely reporting of data on cognitive decline and caregiving to inform future public health actions.
  2. The Alzheimer’s Association increased fund-raising through its Walk to End Alzheimer’s and Longest Day events in 2018. Last year, more than 65,000 teams participated in more than 600 walks across the country, raising more than million. Our national Home Instead team is proud to have raised ,026.
  3. Many individuals living with Alzheimer’s talked about how “they had Alzheimer’s,” but “Alzheimer’s didn’t have them.” They shared messages of hope and explained how they are helping the cause by advocating at the federal and state level, participating in clinical research trials, joining support groups and raising funds.
  4. Researchers are looking into three hallmarks of Alzheimer’s: plaques that develop outside brain nerve cells, tau tangles (clumps of protein that form in the brain) and neurodegeneration (shrinking of the brain). Some researchers believe these conditions begin to occur up to 10 years before cognitive symptoms start to show. They’re hoping they can intervene and treat these conditions – much like treating high cholesterol to help prevent heart disease – to slow or even prevent Alzheimer’s. Clinical trials could take years, but there are a promising number of drugs in the pipeline, with 61 in the third and final phase of testing.
  5. Researchers are also looking at risk factors and risk reduction. They’ve even given us a tool to take care of ourselves with 10 Ways to Love Your Brain. Check it out.  

These five take-aways demonstrate there’s hope. We all have a brain, so we all have a reason to support the fight against Alzheimer’s. And, as more of us join the battle, hope will swell.  

To get involved in the fight, click here. If you need support caring for someone living with this disease, please call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900. If you need a community of online supporters to rally around you, begin following the Remember For Alzheimer’s Facebook page. Take support one step further and receive a weekly email from Lakelyn with caregiving tips and hope to help you along the caregiving continuum. 

Author: Jeff Huber

Jeff Huber is President and Chief Executive Officer of Home Instead Senior Care. Huber was named President in 2010 and added the role of Chief Executive Officer in May 2015.  In his position, Huber oversees global operations and directs strategic planning and advocacy initiatives for the franchise network.  

Huber joined Home Instead Senior Care in 1998 as a Franchise Development Manager when the organization consisted of 125 franchises.  Today, Home Instead Senior Care provide more than 60 million hours care annually through more than 1,100 franchises offices in 12 countries.


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