• Alzheimer’s Association Weekly Column by Scott Finley
    Alzheimer’s Association Weekly Column by Scott Finley

Older Texans Month

Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation naming May as Older Texans Month.

From the official proclamation:  “There are more than 3.6 million Texans over the age of 65, and these people create the strong and prosperous foundation upon which our state is built.”

Sadly, of those 3.6 million Texans over the age of 65, around 400,000 are living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, with a Medicaid cost of over $3 billion.

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior.  It is not a normal part of aging.  Symptoms such as difficulty remembering things that just happened, losing track of dates, misplacing things, trouble completing familiar tasks and poor decision making develop slowly and become worse over time.  They will come to rely more and more on caregivers – usually unpaid.

Caregiving duties may be light as the disease progresses, but by the time late stages are reached it may be 24 hour duties. Caregiving can last for many years – even for decades.

In the more advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, a caregiver will help a person dress, perform toilet activities, help a person eat – basically normal functions of life the person with Alzheimer’s can no longer perform on their own.  Caregivers may also have to manage symptoms such as anxiety, apathy and lack of inhibition as well as significant behavioral problems. 

In his proclamation, Governor Abbott also says “The changing needs of a growing number of Texans who are older can present new challenges, but our communities will rise to that challenge to ensure older Texans receive the support they need, whether that be in health care, employment, transportation, or other areas of life.”

For those older Texans living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, support can’t come too quickly or in enough quantity.

Your help is needed now at www.alz.org

And just a reminder – you can get information about the Association’s emergency preparedness guidelines for Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in long-term or community-based care settings here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tips for Dementia Caregivers in Long-Term or Community-Based Settings

If you have a question about Alzheimer’s disease, you can always call the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900 for more.

The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia – by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia. Visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900.

Scott Finley is Media Relations Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association® in Texas.  He can be reached at scfinley@alz.org

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