Kentucky Proclaims November Alzheimer's Awareness Month
To bring awareness about a devastating disease that affects thousands of Kentuckians and their families, Gov. Steve Beshear has proclaimed November Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month in Kentucky.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of the brain diseases known as dementia. AD is a progressive, degenerative brain disease that often starts with slight memory loss and confusion, but eventually leads to irreversible mental impairment that destroys a person's ability to remember, reason, learn and imagine.
"In the year 2000, it was estimated that 74,000 Kentuckians age 65 and older had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease," said Gov. Beshear. "That number is expected to rise to 80,000 by 2010, a staggering figure."
According to the Alzheimer's Association, 70 percent of people with Alzheimer's and other dementias live at home and receive care by family and friends.
"With so many of our fellow citizens affected by Alzheimer's, we must do what we can to bring awareness to this disease and its effects," said Beshear. "Not only does Alzheimer's rob a person of their memory, but it also robs families of those who suffer from it precious time with their loved ones."
There is currently no cure for AD, but researchers have made progress in the past 10 years with treatment and identification. Treatment for symptoms, combined with the right services and support, can make life better for those who have the disease, and for their caregivers.
"We are thankful to the Governor for helping to bring awareness to this devastating disease," said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Janie Miller. "It is through education and awareness that we may begin to increase understanding and improve the quality of life of Alzheimer's patients, their families and caregivers."
Programs available through DAIL that target Alzheimer's disease include the Adult Day and Alzheimer's Respite programs. These programs are designed to ease some difficulties of daily living while helping elder Kentuckians remain in the mainstream of community life.
Certified Adult Day programs include supervision and care provided during any part of a day, but less than 24-hour care. All programs offer help with self-administration of medications, personal care services, self-care training, social activities and recreation.
Alzheimer's respite is a program of supervision and care provided to a person with Alzheimer's disease or related dementia to give caregivers temporary relief from caregiving duties.
DAIL also oversees the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Council that helps Kentuckians with Alzheimer's, as well as their families.