You say Alzheimer’s, I say Dementia.

I find the whole issue of the labels very confusing. This is already hard, let’s just call it one thing. What I have learned so far is that no matter what the label, each person exhibits very different behaviors, even with the same diagnosis.

The staff at the Mayo Clinic confirms that dementia isn’t a specific disease. Instead, dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting intellectual and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning. Many causes of dementia symptoms exist. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of a progressive dementia.

According to the Department of Heath and Human Services, of Americans aged 65 and over, 1 in 8 is moderately demented. By 85, 50 percent are moderately demented.

I got a survey from the Alzheimer’s Association yesterday. I wonder why they picked such a specific disease that some report goes undiagnosed until the autopsy? What strikes me is that it trails most of the diseases out there in fundraising, but impacts many more people either with the symptoms or that of the caregivers who help care for someone with some form of dementia (More than 15 million American’s provide unpaid care for someone with Alzheimer’s). Maybe by renaming it to something like Citizens Fighting Dementia would help fuel the research fundraising.

After reading the statistics and talking with so many people who have been impacted by dementia, I hope they figure out how to help better educate and communicate about this condition. In February, the Obama Administration did act to push for more research funding. Will it be enough? Frightened.


4 thoughts on “You say Alzheimer’s, I say Dementia.

  1. Kay,

    I agree with your observations. It seems “Alzheimer’s” has grabbed the medical attention getting head line, but not the sense of immediacy and/or impact to parents, spouse, or to self. My guess is human behavior being what it is, (like paying taxes or doing homework), allows us to put off until tomorrow what we can do today. If there is no immediate threat, then little or no prep or action, and not enough advances to grab headlines regarding meds or a cure. The biggest headline grabbers from my perspective are breast cancer, obesity, and diabetes. I guess it is all about positioning and funding.

    Let’s get a pub-crawl agenda together (too many 5Ks), for Dementia!


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