iStock_000003325227LargeAlzheimer’s disease is a serious health issue in Arizona and the United States. The disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Over the next 10 years,

Arizona is expected to experience an exponential increase in Alzheimer’s cases because of an aging population . In most people Alzheimer’s symptoms first appear after age 60, but Alzheimer’s disease is not a natural part of aging.

We recently partnered with KTAR news to develop a special five part news series that highlights the effects Alzheimer’s disease has on patients and caregivers. It is typically friends and family members who provide care for patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, which can put emotional, physical and financial burdens on caregivers. People in the final stages of the disease are bed-bound and require around-the-clock care. It is estimated that more than 15 million Americans, including more than 400,000 Arizonans, provide care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Supporting caregivers is vital to improving the overall health of the family living with someone with Alzheimer’s disease. As we look to the future of caring for our aging population, ADHS will work with our government and community partners to develop resources to help people caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease cannot be cured or prevented, but an early diagnosis can help both the patient and caregivers who will have to help provide daily support. If you or a loved one is experiencing memory loss or is concerned about Alzheimer’s disease, there are 10 common warning signs and symptoms. If you notice any of these, please see a medical provider:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
  • Confusion with time or place (example: wandering and getting lost)
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality

For more information about caregiver support visit our Arizona Healthy Aging website.