Alzheimer's Special Report

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Decatur-- Alzheimer's Disease affects more than 5 million Americans right now and that number is expected to triple by the year 2050. Alzheimer's is a degenerative disease of the brain and is one of more than 50 causes of Dementia or memory loss. Leslie Kent whose 82 year old mother has Alzheimer's says.. "it's like a light switch that goes off...the person you knew suddenly is gone." Many families experience an episode like wandering or a fall at home that forces them to consider care outside the home. That can include an assisted living center tailored to memory care like Lincolnshire Place in Decatur. Activities Director Cynthia Hinkle says its her job to keep residents engaged in physical and mental activities and to help them maintain a level of cognitive function. Experimental drugs under development are aimed at erasing the plaque build up in the brain called Beta Amyloids. Most drugs now only slow the progress of the disease. Certified Dementia Specialist Kim Zamora says memory care facilities are specifically built for memory care including the color of walls, safety, and nursing care. Private pay facilities can top 4-thousand dollars a month. A private room at a nursing home can be more than 7-thousand dollars a month. Experts predict Alzheimer's care will account for 25 percent of Medicare spending by 2050. Support is vital to caregivers. Organizations like the Alzheimer's Association offer support groups as do hospitals and health departments. The Alzheimer's Walk in communities raises money for research and support services. The disease is often called the longest goodbye because of its slow progression and no cure. For a link to the Alzheimer's Association go to sitewatch on this page.   

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