Alzheimer's and Dementia

At A Glance
Last Edited: 1441 days ago.

Over 35.6 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s or memory loss caused by dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia causes problems with memory, behavior, and thinking that worsen over time, eventually leading to death. Over 5 million people in the United States have the disease. Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer's are women.

In 2013, 15.5 million family and friends provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer's and other dementias – care valued at $220.2 billion.

Although Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging, data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates there are currently around 39 million Americans age 65 and older, up from 25.5 million just 30 years ago. This population explosion is unprecedented in history, and the resulting demographic shift is causing profound social and economic changes, including an increased need for solutions related to aging, memory loss, and dementia.

Source: National Institutes of Health

Glossary of Key Terms

Dementia: Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an overall term that describes a wide range of symptomsassociated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common dementia type. But there are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.

Alzheimer’s disease: Each person's experience with Alzheimer's disease or dementia is different. Even so, some symptoms are common and usually move through predictable stages, from mild to more severe, over the course of several years. The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include loss of memory, trouble finding words, general disorientation, difficulty making judgments, as well as changes in behavior and personality.

Caregiving: Long-term care is a range of services and supports you may need to meet your personal care needs. Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life, sometimes called Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). More than 3 in 5 unpaid Alzheimer's caregivers are women – and there are 2.5 more women than men who provide 24-hour care for someone with Alzheimer's.

Activities of Daily Living: These include bathing dressing, using the toilet, transferring (to or from bed or chair), caring for incontinence, eating.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living: Other common long-term care services and supports are assistance with everyday tasks, sometimes called Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) including housework, managing money, taking medication, preparing and cleaning up after meals, shopping for groceries or clothes, using the telephone or other communication devices, caring for pets, responding to emergency alerts such as fire alarms.

Assistive technology: Assistive technology (AT) is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. AT promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.

Medicare: In the United States, Medicare is a national social insurance program, administered by the U.S. federal government since 1966, that guarantees access to health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system, and younger people with disabilities as well as people with end stage renal disease and persons with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. As a social insurance program, Medicare spreads the financial risk associated with illness across society to protect everyone, and thus has a somewhat different social role from for-profit private insurers, which manage their risk portfolio by adjusting their pricing according to perceived risk.



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