Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have taken the spotlight as people around the globe observed World Alzheimer’s Month.

Throughout September, conferences, special events, seminars and other activities have taken place to raise awareness and highlight the importance of early detection and diagnosis.  We applaud the efforts of Alzheimer’s Disease International, which oversees the commemoration.

According to recent statistics of the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with the disease. By 2050, this number could rise as high as 16 million. In addition, 35 percent of caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias report that their health has gotten worse due to care responsibilities, compared to 19 percent of caregivers for older people without dementia.

“The burden of cognitive decline on caregivers is enormous,” according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alzheimer’s Association, called The Healthy Brain Initiative.

“The costs of unpaid, informal care provided by families have been shown to account for a large proportion of the costs of treating dementia and they increase sharply as the patient’s cognitive impairment worsens,” the report states. “There are also physical and mental costs associated with caregiving; in one study, nearly 43% of the family members providing care to relatives with dementia had clinically significant levels of depression during the last few months of the patient’s life.”

Providing care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can take an emotional and physical toll. Caregivers have the opportunity to take time to focus on their own health and well-being when respite care from REST Companions is provided. They can step away as needed to keep a doctor’s appointment, exercise and participate in positive social and recreational activities.

To learn more about REST, visit:  www.restprogram.org.