In 1906, German psychiatrist and neurologist Dr Alois Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who died from an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior.
One hundred and fifteen years after this initial discovery, there is still no cure and the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease is increasing.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 5.8 million Americans aged 65 and over are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2020.
By 2050, the number of people aged 65 and over with Alzheimer’s dementia could reach 13.8 million according to projections, except for the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or cure Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s.
Local seniors with the disease, as well as caregivers and their loved ones, received information on how to manage and live with the disease on Thursday at an Alzheimer’s symposium at the McKenna Events Center, presented by EdenHill Communities.
It was the third year of the event.
“We get so many questions from family members who are just devastated by this disease, and they are looking for resources,” said Terry Jackson, director of independent living at EdenHill. “We are sometimes surprised at how little people know about the disease and the resources available in the community. So we bring people together, and that’s the point – for them to get an education and find practical resources here in town.
Jackson added that the symposium reached a wide variety of people looking for information, both in person and online, about the progressive disease that affects memory, thinking and behavior.
“The vast majority of people either have someone in their life with Alzheimer’s disease to care for,” she said. “There are adult children who take care of their parents. There are people here who were diagnosed early with Alzheimer’s disease and who are trying to get as much information as possible. We have members of the healthcare community from facilities that support people with Alzheimer’s disease who are also here for information.
Speakers included consultant and author Meredith Patterson, Dr Mark Burns from UT Health San Antonio and a consulting physician from EdenHill Communities, and Dr Soriya Estes, audiologist from New Braunfels.
Speakers covered topics ranging from understanding the basics of Alzheimer’s disease to hearing loss and safety of loved ones.
There are ongoing resources for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as for their loved ones.
EdenHill maintains a free monthly support group from noon to 1 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month.
EdenHill also presents Caregiver Circle, educational gatherings in a safe social setting for people with dementia and their loved ones. The sessions are free and open to the public.
For an invitation to the support group or information about the Caregiver Circle, call 830-625-1327 or email [email protected]
The Alzheimer’s Association San Antonio and South Texas Chapter, serving 47 counties in South Texas, offers a variety of programs and support services for Alzheimer’s disease and associated dementias:
24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900: The helpline is made up of highly trained professionals who can help you with a variety of issues including treatments and clinical trials, strategies for care and legal, financial and housing decisions. Information and references are made for local support, and translations into multiple languages are available.
ALZConnected is the premier online social networking community dedicated to anyone affected by Alzheimer’s disease. It provides a safe place for people to connect with others in similar situations 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Visit www.alzconnected.org.
Alzheimer’s Navigator is an online assessment program provided by the Alzheimer’s Association to help caregivers and people with dementia assess their needs, take action, and connect to local programs and services. Visit www.alzheimersnavigtor.org.
The Alzheimer’s Association also offers free online education programs at training.alz.org. The programs are designed for people living with the disease, caregivers and anyone interested in learning more about dementia.
For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association, visit www.alz.org/sanantonio.