Voters for the American Express Members Project recently chose the Alzheimer’s Disease: Early Detection Matters campaign as the project they would most like to see funded. Close to 90,000 card members cast a vote—choosing from more than 1,000 potential projects. In the end, the winner was a campaign that will educate people about the importance of early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s—receiving $1.5 million in funding.
Around 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease—but about 50% of them have not yet been diagnosed. This means that millions of people don’t know that they have the disease so aren’t receiving treatments. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s yet, available treatments can help improve or stabilize symptoms. Care strategies may also minimize or prevent behavioral problems.
Early diagnosis also enables patients and their families to plan for the future, prepare for the inevitable changes ahead, research possible resources and support, and get help. The majority of Alzheimer’s caregivers are family members who are not only faced with a serious illness in their loved one but are also providing significant care. This can be an incredibly stressful job and many also have full-time jobs to support their families. The Alliance has a number of resources for Alzheimer’s caregivers at http://www.agingresearch.org/Home.