The projection for the number of Americans who will be diagnosed with dementia over the next few decades is staggering.
It is estimated that this devastating disease, which diminishes a person’s ability to fully put their cognitive functions to use, will affect 14 million over the age of 65 by 2060. Another unwelcome trend is emerging. The rate at which Americans die from age-related illnesses, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, is also on the rise.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of deaths has more than doubled in recent years, up from 30.5 deaths per 100,000 people in 2000, to 66.7 deaths now.
Granted, the uptick is associated with our growing aging population. Advanced medicine and technology are allowing us to live longer lives. It also means, however, more people are at high-risk for dementia, since it is an age-related illness.
Each day, we learn of new medical advances, studies, and roadmaps that one day may lead to life-saving treatment or preventive measures.
As an advocate for age-related issues and dementia, I make it a priority to teach care that increases a person’s quality of life, which is more than doable at present day.
We are doing our best to guide caregivers in a direction that leads to improved care. By improved care, we mean that in-home providers and professionals can facilitate high-quality care as patients adjust to the new world they must face. Compassionate and loving care is the goal; and it’s only achievable by becoming dementia-aware.
This outlook gives rise to meaningful moments that mean the world to those receiving care. These moments also result in unbreakable connections between the caregiver and the individual suffering from the symptoms of dementia. When this happens, the quality of life increases significantly, and in turn, offers much-needed hope that living with dementia doesn’t incapacitate. Instead, the compassionate care we administer can continually feel like breaths of fresh air at moments when they are needed the most.