The latest figures reveal an alarming increase in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in England and Wales, with numbers diagnosed rising by 18,000 in a year, taking the total diagnosed to 283,000. Even more worrying, only just over 40 percent of people living with the disease have been diagnosed. The number of people with Alzheimer’s and not receiving benefits or treatment of any kind is now thought to be in excess of 400,000.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Apart from the obvious benefit to the individual, early diagnosis could save the taxpayer thousands of pounds, since, according to the World Alzheimer’s Report of 2010, an early diagnosis can result in a tax saving of around $10,000 per person.
This is due to the fact that early diagnosis can delay a person needing treatment in an institution, which routinely involves round-the-clock care.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society said:
The Alzheimer’s Society recommends that anyone concerned about memory problems, and experiencing any of the following should speak to their GP:
- struggling to remember recent events, despite being able to recall things that happened in the past
- finding it difficult to follow conversations or programmes on TV
- regularly forgetting the names of friends or everyday objects
- unable to recall things you’ve heard, seen or read
- having difficulty in making decisions
- repeating conversations or losing the thread in speech
- having problems thinking and reasoning
- feeling depressed, anxious or angry about your forgetfulness
- finding that other people are commenting on your forgetfulness
People who are worried about their memory or that of someone they know can also contact Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline on 0845 300 0336.
In the US, the statistics also show a huge increase, and the number living with Alzheimer’s disease is now in excess of five million. The proportion of people in the US over the age of 65 is increasing at such a rate that it’s being called a ‘silver tsunami’, and medical services are bracing themselves to deal with the coming deluge.
1 in 7 living alone
One particularly disturbing fact is that as many as one in seven people suffering with the disease are living at home, alone. Needless to say, there is an increased danger of suffering falls, burns and other injuries without a care-give available to help.
Do you know of any elderly neighbours who may be at risk? If each of us took the time to reach out a helping hand to just one person in need, it could do a tremendous amount to ease the situation. Remember, if someone is living alone and has no regular contact with anyone, even spending fifteen minutes chatting and offering to help out a little can make a huge difference to that person.
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