Iowa is seeing an increase in the number of cases of Alzheimer’s disease. Jodi Ricklefs, spokeswoman for the Greater Iowa Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in Fort Dodge, says the latest studies show a definite rise in the numbers. There are 69,000 Iowans diagnosed with it and for every one, there are at least three caregivers and at least eight other family members who are impacted by the disease.
She says that number is up by 4,000 from last year. Ricklefs said there is speculation about why there are growing numbers of people affected by the disease in our state. Iowa has the largest population of people over the age of 85 and once a person reaches that age, they have a 50-50 chance of developing the disease. Ricklefs in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the person will recognize they’re having memory loss and will be aware they’re forgetting things.
In the middle stages, the person will begin forgetting more things and be unable to provide their own daily living activities and they’ll need assistance, as caregivers take over more and more roles. In the later stages, the person will need total care — and the disease is eventually fatal. This is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and there are several events underway around the state designed to educate the public about Alzheimer’s disease and the treatments for those affected. For more information, visit: “www.alz.org/greateriowa“.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City