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.
An Interpretive Report for the Dementia Rating Scale–2™ (DRS-2™) is now available on PARiConnect. The DRS-2 measures mental status in adults with cognitive impairment and assesses an individual’s overall level of cognitive functioning.
The DRS-2 Interpretive Report provides:
Save money and valuable clinical time by letting PARiConnect handle scoring and interpretation of your DRS-2 administrations without the investment of purchasing the entire software program.
Don’t have a PARiConnect account? It’s easy to sign up—plus you get three free administrations and three free reports! 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.
February 14-21 is Alzheimer’s and Dementia Staff Education Week. This week brings awareness to the importance of properly training individuals from a variety of fields. Whether you are a health care provider, 911 operator, first responder, clergy member, elder care attorney, or have another role working with the elderly, this week focuses on the importance of comprehensive dementia education.
Beyond educating individuals beyond those in mental and physical health care about the importance of dementia education, the week also shines a spotlight on caregivers supporting individuals with these diagnoses.
Some resources for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care
The National Institute on Aging is the primary government agency conducting research on Alzheimer’s disease.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. The association’s website offers resources for caregivers as well as those living with Alzheimer’s.
The National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners (NCCDP) provides resources, including seminars and training. NCCDP members may download a free Alzheimer’s and Dementia Staff Education Week toolkit from their website.
Need help assessing for neurocognitive impairment?
Patients with neurocognitive impairment such as dementia are often unreliable reporters of their symptoms. An observer—such as a family member, friend, or home health care nurse—can often provide valuable insight into an individual’s functioning. The Older Adult Cognitive Screener™ (OACS™) is a quick informant rating scale that helps provide information on a patient’s mental status and determine if there is a need for more in-depth testing. Learn more about the OACS.
The Dementia Rating Scale–2™ (DRS-2™) measures mental status in individuals with cognitive impairment. It assesses an individual’s mental status over time.
Dementia is one of the most devastating diagnoses a patient and family can receive. It is a major cause of disability and dependency among older people worldwide, and nearly 10 million new cases are diagnosed globally each year. Early screening of dementia symptoms in older adults is critical to ensure timely treatment and intervention—and to minimize the impact on the patient and family.
PAR’s new neuropsychological assessment instrument, the Older Adult Cognitive Screener (OACS), will help you serve your older patients and their families with quicker answers. An all-digital informant rating scale, the OACS is designed for early screening of dementia symptoms for patients ages 55–90 years and will assist with follow-up determinations, including initiating or referring your clients for comprehensive diagnostic testing. Results are based on the observations and knowledge of a reliable caregiver, family member, or friend (e.g., spouse or home health care worker).
How does the OACS help you screen for neurocognitive impairments?
1. Administration and scoring are rapid and reliable.
Raters can complete the items in only 5–10 minutes online, and scoring is instant via PARiConnect. Change Reports are available to help you track change over time.
2. The OACS is entirely digital, ideal for telehealth and social distancing.
Another significant advantage of the OACS is its digital format, which aligns well with today’s telehealth models and enables you to continue testing even when social distancing is required. Plus, because the OACS is administered through PARiConnect, data are easily exported into an electronic medical record (EMR) system.
Related article: SPEAKING MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE MAY DELAY ONSET OF DEMENTIA
3. Items map onto DSM-5 domains.
The OACS is the only neurocognitive screener with items that map directly onto the six principal domains of neurocognitive function identified in the DSM-5®: executive function, complex attention, language, perceptual–motor, social cognition, and learning and memory. An additional item addresses activities of daily living (ADLs) to help you determine how the patient performs common physical tasks.
Why should I use the OACS?
Designed to be used in medical settings by primary care and specialty physicians, the OACS can also be administered and scored appropriately by nursing staff and properly trained clerical staff. It is also useful for clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, and others who treat older adults on a clinical basis in a variety of mental health settings, including nursing homes and community mental health centers.
It was developed by trusted authors Cecil R. Reynolds, PhD, and Erin D. Bigler, PhD, to provide a rapid, cost-effective, and valid means of screening older adults for cognitive dysfunction.
To learn more or to order, visit parinc.com/OACS or call PAR Customer Support at 1.800.331.8378.
This fall, PAR will add a new neuropsychological assessment instrument to our lineup: the Older Adult Cognitive Screener (OACS), an all-digital informant rating scale that enables you to make quick decisions about your older clients’ (ages 55 to 90 years) mental status. The OACS is designed for early screening of dementia symptoms and will assist with follow-up determinations, including initiating or referring your clients for comprehensive diagnostic testing. Administration and scoring take only 10 minutes.
Working with authors Cecil R. Reynolds, PhD, and Erin D. Bigler, PhD, our goal as we’ve developed the OACS was to provide a rapid, cost-effective, and valid means of screening older adults for cognitive dysfunction based on the observations and knowledge of a reliable caregiver, family member, or friend (e.g., spouse or home health care worker).
Unlike on similar measures, OACS items map directly onto the six principal domains of neurocognitive function identified in the DSM-5®: executive function, complex attention, language, perceptual–motor, social cognition, and learning and memory. Activities of daily living (ADLs) are also assessed.
Related article: TICS: ASSESS FOR COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT REMOTELY
The OACS is designed to be used in medical settings by primary care and specialty physicians and can be administered and scored appropriately by nursing staff and properly trained clerical staff. It is also useful for clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, and others who treat older adults on a clinical basis in a variety of mental health settings, including nursing homes and community mental health centers.
The OACS will be released this fall. For more information, or to preorder, visit parinc.com/OACS.