When I talk to my mom, she knows who I am. She has no trouble calling me by my name, easily remembers specific details of our nearly 50 years together. My mom remembers good times, bad times, our family stories large and small.
The same can be said for my dad. Sure, there are times he first calls me the name of one of my six siblings, but what parent doesn't do that now and again? My dad clearly knows who I am, knows details about events from the past week as well as events from the past several decades.
Both my parents remember the past, appreciate the present, look forward to the future. I'm fortunate that's the case. I don't take my good fortune for granted.
Sadly, not everyone is as lucky as I am, not everyone has parents who exhibit no dementia, no Alzheimer's symptoms. In fact, more than a third of adults in the United States have a connection to Alzheimer's Disease, often through a parent but also through a spouse or other blood relative.
Indeed, I am one of the lucky ones. I can only imagine the pain and heartbreak of not being recognized by a parent or spouse and the dismay at seeing a loved one disappear while still being physically present.
Imagining the horror of loving someone with dementia — or worse yet, suffering from it myself — is just one reason why Alzheimer's prevention is important to me. The following facts and figures are more reasons, numbers that underscore why ending Alzheimer's should be important to all of us:
• Approximately 5.2 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's.
• A new case of Alzheimer's is diagnosed every 68 seconds.
• Early-onset Alzheimer's involves about 3 percent of all Alzheimer's diagnoses, and can be identified by symptoms that begin before age 65.
• Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, slowed or cured.
• One in nine Americans over age 65 is currently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. For those over age 85, it's one in three.
• Because of the aging population of our nation, the prevalence of Alzheimer's Disease is projected to increase sharply in coming decades, with the number of those living with it to reach a projected 13.8 million by 2050.
• Unless something is done, the cost of dealing with Alzheimer’s disease during the next 40 years is expected to be $20 trillion.
Those distressing numbers scare me, make it clear I won't always be so lucky, so fortunate to not be touched by Alzheimer's Disease, directly or indirectly. There's a dementia tsunami headed our way, and the time to act is now.
One way to help end Alzheimer's is by joining the Alzheimer's Prevention Registry. The registry is simply a community of people interested in making an impact on Alzheimer's research, in hopes it will help put an end to the disease. It's designed not only for those who have or know someone with Alzheimer's, but for anyone interested in Alzheimer's research. Those on the registry receive regular updates on overall brain health as well as information on specific advances and studies on Alzheimer's disease.
Anyone 18 and older can sign up on the Alzheimer's Prevention Registry. It's free, quick, and easy, with only a few simple questions specific to Alzheimer's. The information provided during registration will be used only to inform registrants of relevant Alzheimer's news and prevention studies; strict federal regulations are followed to protect the privacy of personal information.
For more information on the Alzheimer's Prevention Registry and the Alzheimer's Prevention Initiative, visit http://endalznow.org. For more on the "dementia tsunami," watch this informative 8-minute TEDMED video:
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, written for a campaign by BOOMboxNetwork.com on behalf Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative. I received compensation for my participation. Opinions and anecdotes are my own.