Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that mostly affects the elderly, but people can get early onset Alzheimer’s as early as in their 30s. In 2015, Alzheimer’s disease took to the screen in a major way in the movie Still Alice. Critics agree that the convincing portrayal still lacks an accurate depiction of the depth of pain experienced by the victims of the disease and their friends and loved ones. The lives of many of our residents at Rittenhouse Village Senior Living have been impacted in one way or another by this common disease. In the midst of the painfulness of facing the realities of Alzheimer’s, there is the good news that there are ways to manage it through treatment and even ways to prevent its onset.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that irreversibly and slowly destroys thinking skills and memory until victims are unable to carry out the simplest of tasks. Among the elderly, Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. Research and discoveries about the disease continue, but it currently appears that damage to the brain begins approximately ten years before either cognitive or memory problems become apparent. During symptom-free years, toxic changes occur in the brain.
Because the risk of the disease increases with age and our population in the U.S. is aging, the number of people suffering from Alzheimer’s is expected to grow. Currently, experts believe that approximately 5.3 million people in the U.S. suffer from Alzheimer’s.
Statistics and known risk factors for Alzheimer’s include:
- Almost two-thirds of the people in the U.S. who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease are women.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.
- One in three senior citizens dies from some form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s.
- Older Hispanics and African-Americans are more likely than Caucasians to suffer from a form of dementia.
- Approximately 17.9 billion hours of unpaid care was given by friends and families to patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in 2014. The emotional stress to caregivers responsible for Alzheimer’s patients is high; they suffer a devastating emotional and physical toll.
Knowing that so many people are affected by this disease. Rittenhouse Village focuses on custom living options and lifestyles to help all residents feel comfortable and at home. Whether our residents are in independent living, memory care, or assisted living, we believe everyone should have the chance to live a caring and comfortable life in an active community.