Alzheimer’s Disease Facts
Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. By mid-century, it is expected that someone will develop the disease every 33 seconds. Yet merely 45% of those with Alzheimer’s disease, and less than 27% of those with other forms of dementia, are being told their diagnosis.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for approximately 60-80% of dementia cases. In 2015, an estimated 5.3 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease in the United States, and 180,000 of those individuals reside in Michigan. By 2025, Michigan is expected to have 220,000 individuals with Alzheimer’s disease ‑ a 22.2% increase.
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease characterized by a progressive decline in cognitive and functional activities, including bathing, dressing, eating, and using the bathroom. An individual with the disease will likely lose the ability to communicate, fail to recognize loved ones, and require round-the-clock care from loved ones or paid caregivers. Alzheimer’s disease is ultimately fatal.
At this time, Alzheimer’s disease cannot be slowed, prevented, or cured. However, active management of the disease can improve quality of life for individuals with dementia and their caregivers. Active management includes:
- Accessing appropriate treatment options
- Managing additional health conditions
- Working as a care management team, coordinating care between physicians, other health care professionals, and caregivers
- Participation in social, cognitive, and physical activities and/or an adult day program
- Participation in support groups and supportive services
In 2014, Americans provided nearly 18 billion hours of unpaid care to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It is estimated that 9.7 billion dollars in healthcare costs resulted from the physical and emotional impact of dementia caregiving in 2014. Additionally, approximately 40% of family caregivers experienced depression as a result of caregiving responsibilities.
An individual with dementia often displays some combination of difficult behaviors such as anger/agitation, physical combativeness, wandering/pacing, sexually acting out, paranoia, delusions and hallucinations. These behaviors can make it challenging to get a loved one out of the house for doctor appointments or for a caregiver to connect with social service agencies. Many caregivers express a desire for in-home services, where the service provider comes to the family. These caregivers are unaware that some in-home services may be available in their area including in-home respite providers, home delivered meals, and physicians and counselors/therapists that make house calls.
Michigan Dementia Care and Support Program
Caregivers and individuals living with dementia often report feeling isolated and unsettled after a dementia diagnosis has been given. To assist families in obtaining the information and resources they desire, the Greater Michigan Chapter and the Michigan Great Lakes Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association have launched the Michigan Dementia Care and Support Program in Macomb, Monroe, and St. Joseph Counties.
The Michigan Dementia Care and Support Program is state-funded and is available to clients residing in these counties free of charge. This program provides in-home care consultations, with a Master’s-level social worker, to assess needs and develop a personalized care plan based on those needs. Care consultations combine counseling and care management services to provide supportive interventions. These interventions include problem-solving assistance, referral to resources, assistance with future planning, and education and counseling on dementia and caregiving. The goals of the program are to reduce depression, increase family support, delay long-term care placement, and reduce redundant use of health services.
Eligibility for the Michigan Dementia Care and Support Program includes:
- The caregiver or person living with dementia must reside in Macomb, Monroe, or St. Joseph County
- The person with dementia must have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, or a related dementia, from a physician
- The caregiver must be facing significant challenges related to managing difficult behaviors of the in-home care of a person with dementia
- The person with dementia must be in the middle or late stages of the disease
Access to Services
If you know someone who could benefit from these free services, please have them call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900 for more information.