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2019 Women’s Council & Awards: Women and Alzheimer’s Disease

Nearly 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease or another dementia.

Despite common misconception, Alzheimer’s is not a natural part of aging. It is a progressive, fatal brain disease that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Alzheimer’s is the fourth leading cause of death in California and the number has increased by 169% since 2000. It is also the only disease in the top 10 leading causes of death with no known prevention, treatment, or cure.

Alzheimer’s affects the whole family, not only the individual with the diagnosis. Watching a loved one decline can cause emotional stress and providing the daily caregiving required can cause physical stress as well. Challenging behaviors, difficulty communicating, and keeping the person with Alzheimer’s safe can all have an impact on a caregiver’s mental and physical health.

A startling fact is that two-thirds of those affected by Alzheimer’s are women. That’s 3.8 million women, including over 113,000 who live in LA County. A woman in her 60’s is twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than breast cancer. And women overwhelmingly provide the caregiving to their family members. Whether their loved one is a man or a woman, more than one-third of family caregivers are sisters, daughters, and even granddaughters. The numbers are clear, Alzheimer’s is a women’s issue!

FRANCES’ STORY

Frances provides full-time care for her mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 15 years ago and now requires constant supervision as well as assistance with most activities. Her siblings live out of the area, so Frances is the primary caregiver and helps her mom with all daily tasks.

Due to her extensive caregiving responsibilities, Frances started feeling overwhelmed and isolated and was referred to Alzheimer’s Los Angeles by her social worker through the Alz Direct Connect Referral Program. She was connected to a Care Counselor and now receives ongoing personalized support including disease education, emotional support, and connection to additional resources to help ease her financial burden, as she is unable to work outside the house.

Recently, due to the amount of time and energy focused on her mother, Frances’ own health began deteriorating. As a result, Alzheimer’s LA provided her with emergency respite which allowed her to seek out medical treatment for a newly discovered thyroid condition.

Frances has said that “the assistance provided by Alzheimer’s LA has been a blessing” and has “given much needed information…I don’t feel as isolated as before. I have been able to reach out to my Care Counselor and get a compassionate response every single time. The assistance with in-home care for my mom has allowed me to attend my doctor’s appointments with the peace of mind that my mother is well taken care of.”

ALZHEIMER’S LOS ANGELES CAN HELP

Alzheimer’s Los Angeles has been a constant presence in the LA community for nearly 40 years, supporting families as they face the challenges of dealing with an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis. They’ll be your partner for as long as you’re on this journey, which they know can be a bumpy road. Every day, family caregivers for loved ones with dementia face seemingly unsurmountable challenges. There are many struggles to overcome when a loved one is diagnosed with dementia.

Alzheimer’s LA delivers comprehensive programs, education, and advocacy designed to reduce the immense burden related with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The organization helps you navigate the challenge of caring for a loved one through its Care Counseling, support groups, and caregiver education programs, empowering families to manage the complexity of daily life with Alzheimer’s.

The dedicated professionals of Alzheimer’s LA work tirelessly every single day to ensure that people know they’re not alone. They are there for you when you need them most. Alzheimer’s LA never turns anyone away and never charges a family for services. People come to Alzheimer’s LA afraid, confused, and overwhelmed by what their family is facing. They leave with a sense of hope.

Until there’s a cure, Alzheimer’s Los Angeles will provide the care.

But they can’t do it without your help…

If you or someone you know has dementia, or you would like to support others in need, please contact Alzheimer’s Los Angeles at 844-HELP-ALZ (844/435-7259) or visit AlzheimersLA.org.

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