June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and it’s a great time to shed light on the impact of Alzheimer’s in our communities. About 6.5 million Americans age 65 years and older—or 1 in 9 people in this age group—live with Alzheimer’s dementia (i.e., dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease). This number is expected to grow as the baby-boom generation ages.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior in primarily older people. Average survival after diagnosis in people age 65 years and older is 4 to 8 years, but some individuals live up to 20 years with the disease. This takes a huge toll on both those living with Alzheimer’s and those who care for them.
There are many ways to support people in your community who are dealing with the daily effects of Alzheimer’s disease:
Learn about the risk factors and incidence rates of Alzheimer’s. Visit alz.org to read facts and figures, find resources for help, and learn about advocacy.
“Go purple” in June to raise awareness. Wear purple, turn your Facebook page purple, and share your story on social media using the hashtags #ENDALZ and #GoPurple.
Contribute your time or money to organizations that support people living with Alzheimer’s, like the Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, or a local group.
For more information about what you can do in June to highlight Alzheimer’s disease, visit https://www.alz.org/abam/overview.asp.
Looking for products to assess dementia or Alzheimer’s disease? Learn more.
More than 50 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Alzheimer’s disease is currently the only leading cause of death in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed.
What you should know about Alzheimer’s and other dementias
Someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s disease every 66 seconds. Estimates indicate this will increase to one every 33 seconds by 2050.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. Most individuals with Alzheimer’s disease start exhibiting signs in their mid-60s.
Just this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the drug aducanumab for Alzheimer’s patients, the first novel therapy to be approved since 2003.
Ways you can show your support
Raise awareness on social media. The Alzheimer’s Association makes it simple to update your Facebook profile with a frame in support of Alzheimer’s awareness.
Share your story. Use hashtags #ENDALZ and #EndAlzheimers to share your story about how Alzheimer’s has touched your life and read more about how Alzheimer’s and other dementias have impacted people throughout the world.
Wear purple. Show your support by wearing purple! You may even want to show your support by tying purple ribbons on your home or car to show your support.
Raise funds through the Solstice Challenge. The longest day of the year—June 20—is a day dedicated to fighting against the darkness of Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association offers suggestions on how you can participate, whether through games, parties, sports, or the arts!
PAR offers a range of products designed to assess and monitor dementia. Learn more.
PAR has announced the recipient of its fifth-annual program to benefit worthy charities. “PAR has been incredibly fortunate as a company,” stated Kristin Greco, MBA, Chief Executive Officer. “Rather than sending our Customers an end-of-year gift, a few years ago, we decided to make a charitable contribution on behalf of our Customers to an organization chosen by those we serve. This is the fourth year we have done so, each year selecting a new charity to honor.”
In November, PAR mailed an end-of-year communication to select Customers, thanking them for their business and asking them to choose their favorite organization from a list as a way to acknowledge the important work they do throughout the year. Most PAR Customers are involved in psychological assessment, educational assessment, or mental health work.
Now that results have been tallied, PAR is proud to announce that on behalf of its Customers, a $5,000 donation will be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. “We are so inspired by the work our Customers do, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is doing work that is important to them,” said Greco. “It is an honor to be able to pay it forward to such a worthy organization.”
We developed the MMSE to solve a clinical problem on a geriatric psychiatric inpatient service. The diagnoses of patients on our unit included depression, dementia, delirium, and occasional late-life schizophrenia. We needed a practical quantitative cognitive exam in order to aide clinicians in determining the severity of cognitive impairment ranging from mild to severe and to document improvement or decline.
At the time, Susan was a psychiatry resident rotating on the geriatric psychiatric unit where I (Marshal) was a junior attending. Always a perfectionist, she was not happy when I repeatedly asked for cognitive information that she had not asked about. So she asked me to write down all the items that I wanted her to include.
Over the years, students and other users made many suggestions about how to improve the MMSE. There was a need to clarify the instructions so that certain tasks were administered; there was a need for phrases that were more easily translated into other languages; and users requested multiple forms in order to minimize practice effects with serial administration. In addition, we had long wanted to develop a shorter version that could be given very quickly in busy clinical settings, and also a longer version that would eliminate ceiling effects. We wanted this longer version to be more sensitive than the original MMSE to disorders of executive function and to the kinds of memory impairment found in mild cognitive impairment.
The MMSE-2 Standard Version scores are equivalent to the original MMSE scores. We took care that subjects tested during development scored the same, regardless of whether they were given the original MMSE or the MMSE-2 Standard Version. Longitudinal studies currently underway can switch to the new version without any adjustment to scores. The original, unrevised MMSE is still available if users do not want to change to the revised versions.
Marshal takes flute lessons and is trying to improve his photography. Susan enjoys gardening and reading spy novels, biographies, Jane Austen, and Patrick O’Brian. She has a new job at the University of Miami School of Medicine with a joint appointment in psychiatry and in the Hussman Institute for Human Genomics. We both like to write and watch old movies.