While it’s true that Alzheimer’s causes slow decline, it’s never a reason to give up on life. More and more of those affected are learning to accommodate and work around it. In our latest animated video and infographic, we take a look at some interesting facts about Alzheimer’s.
Some 46.8 million people worldwide are living with dementia today, a figure that is expected to increase almost three-fold in the next 35 years. If you’re a woman, you’re twice as likely as your male partner to succumb, although it’s not something you’ll have to worry unduly about before turning 65. Fewer than 1% develop Alzheimer’s between the ages of 60 and 65.
Now would be a good time to get off the sofa and head out for a brisk walk since just 30 minutes of exercise a day can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. If you’re concerned about memory lapses, fear not. Many people with Alzheimer’s maintain vivid recollections of their early days, long after more recent memories have gone. Who knew there could be advantages to a misspent youth.
There’s no getting away from the fact that Alzheimer’s is on the increase. In Ireland today, 38,000 people are living with the condition and this figure is growing year on year.
It’s a progressive brain disorder that gradually takes hold, interfering with the ability to carry out everyday tasks. Between the ages of 60 and 65, risk is low at 1% but after that, risk doubles every five years. Alzheimer’s progresses in three stages, starting with no symptoms, moving to mild cognitive impairment and culminating in full dementia. The rate of this progress differs in each individual.
Those who want to ward off Alzheimer’s would do well to take up chess, as social engagement and intellectual stimulation are believed to slow it down. Continue to enjoy that daily cup of coffee – while caffeine speeds us up it slows memory decline down – but say no to the biscuits because sugar consumption has been shown to exacerbate the condition. If mackerel is on the menu, tuck in because a diet high in fish oils reduces the risk of cognitive decline.
And finally, a comforting fact for families worried about having to move their loved one to a nursing home: more than half of those with Alzheimer’s continue to live at home.