Although prevention and cure breakthroughs for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) aren’t yet on the horizon, we continue to recognize programs that present AD patients and caregivers with viable options offering innovative ways to address limitations associated with the disease. The dusk-to-dawn elder care program at New York’s Hebrew Home at Riverdale offers overnight care for AD patients to accommodate patients’ restless nights that place challenging demands on caregivers.
Another exciting program for AD patients is showcased in this month’s E-News Exclusive. The program focuses on the effects of art, music, and physical environment and their positive influence on AD patients. Trained volunteers may use works by Picasso or Van Gogh to rekindle memories or elicit emotions that reduce patients’ anxiety, aggression, and agitation. Artists for Alzheimer’s programs operate in cities including Boston, New York, London, and Paris.
Statistics related to AD portend ominous prospects for many older adults whose golden years will be overshadowed by the mental and physical indignities wrought by it. As many as 5.3 million older adults in the United States are living with AD, the seventh leading cause of death, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Direct and indirect costs of AD and other dementias to Medicare, Medicaid, and businesses top the $148 billion mark each year.
November is World Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. AD warrants the unrelenting efforts of those whose diligent efforts may yield a cure for this dread disease. Professionals need to be particularly aware of the efforts of caregivers charged with expending their physical and emotional energy in maintaining the health, safety, and dignity of AD patients.
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— Barbara Worthington, editor