The Alzheimer’s Association reports that more than 5 million people are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, a number that possibly could grow to more than triple by 2050. This means that it also will become increasingly vital for organizations like Above and Beyond Home Health Care to continue serving a growing number of patients and their families in the Anamosa area.
Though all sorts of research has been taking place into Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, there’s still a lot that is unknown, including how it begins, what types of people seem to be more susceptible and if there are any significant ways to reverse or at least stabilize the usually permanent and fatal effects.
Then, of course, there are other challenges facing people with the disease and their families, including security, living situations and even hospice care as it progresses.
These puzzles go far beyond Iowa and the Midwest –every state has now residents with Alzheimer’s, along with caregivers, health care providers and nurses, and others impacted by the disease.
To bring attention to existing local, national and international resources and continue to seek new solutions, and others going through similar struggles, Alzheimer’s Disease International has chosen Sept. 21 as World Alzheimer’s Day.
With the theme of “Remember Me,” ADI, which is composed of 90 associations worldwide, supports people in local communities coming together to make a difference. Some areas have rallies or marches, some have walks, some organize other community gatherings to raise funds and awareness. Even if there’s nothing official going on in a certain area, people who want to help can still go online to learn more, search for local providers or experts, and find ways to donate money or volunteer.
September has also been designated World Alzheimer’s Month, with similar goals of raising awareness, sharing resources and encouraging support. There’s a political component as well – the various associations and non-profits continue to urge their respective lawmakers to continue to support efforts to fund additional research and outreach.
Get out and walk
Those of us familiar with Alzheimer’s disease know that the need for quality care and support for caregivers goes far beyond one day or one month, and will still be just as strong in October, November and beyond.
But September is still a useful time to get excited and build some good momentum in local communities especially with area merchants, patients, caregivers, and health providers. Tying into the national excitement doesn’t hurt either.
This year, there are 11 scheduled “Walks to End Alzheimer’s” taking place in Iowa throughout the month, including five not far from the Anamosa area.
The ones in Dubuque, Iowa City and Moline have already taken place, but if you’re out and about and still want to get involved, mark your calendars for events in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo, both set for Saturday, Sept. 30.
More than 330 people on 46 teams have already signed up for the Waterloo event at Riverfront Stadium, which includes T-shirts and other stuff, plus music and more. Teams are encouraged to bring in larger donations, and the whole walk has a goal of raising at least $98,000.
The Cedar Rapids event starts at McGrath Amphitheatre, and already includes 765 people on 124 teams. The event’s goal is $208,000.
Research, care continue
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care enjoys hearing out these types of events, and also follows news closely about scientific research into Alzheimer’s disease.
Certainly the projections of the disease’s possible growth are discouraging, but some of potential ways to help prevent or treat it help balance out some of the concerns.
For instance, some researchers are looking at ways that intermittent electrical stimulation can help memory, especially the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
There’s also optimism on the pharmaceutical side, and a variety of products and raw ingredients that are being tested which possibly could have positive results in the future.
While this research continues, the staff will continue providing quality home health care to Iowans, whether they need basic care or even hospice services.
This includes skilled nursing services from people familiar with Alzheimer’s disease. Clients can receive visits from a variety of therapists as well, including speech, physical. An interesting approach called music therapy helps calm patients, reduce pain, increase movement and improve communication.
For clients with more advanced cases, assistance can be provided with basic tasks like dressing and hygiene.
There are also a variety of helpful services available for family members or caregivers, including respite care, where a representative from the company works with the client at their location for a certain amount of time while the caregiver is able to enjoy some valuable time off to recharge their batteries.
Basic homemaking services are also available, including light housekeeping, laundry and meal preparation.
Overall, the staff at Above and Beyond Home Health Care is eager to continue to help clients in the Anamosa area with Alzheimer’s disease or other health conditions. We’re also excited to join others in the community at getting the word out.