June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month

Caption: Alzheimer’s Disease is the most prevalent form of dementia and starts with memory loss.

By Geriatrician Matthew T. Corey, MD

Did you know that nearly 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease? By 2050, that number is projected to rise to 14 million. No matter our family or personal situation, each and every one of us likely knows a person with Alzheimer’s or an Alzheimer’s caregiver. Think of a grandparent, a former colleague, or a family friend who lives down the street. As June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, now is the perfect moment to take a few minutes and learn about this illness, its early warning signs and the support programs available at CHA. 

Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent form of dementia, and usually strikes older adults. Most families first notice lapses in short-term memory, which can lead to difficulty following complex conversations or carrying out the ordinary tasks of daily life. In my practice, I have seen Alzheimer's patients lose the ability to recognize loved ones, become isolated and fearful, and even lose the ability to eat or bathe independently.

It’s important to recognize some of the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease in your loved ones. Below are some symptoms to look out for:

  • Drastic or incremental alterations in mood or personality, e.g. more irritable or sad.
  • Habitually losing their belongings or getting lost in what should be a familiar place.
  • Struggling to finish minor household tasks including bathing, dressing and cleaning. -
  • Failing to pay monthly bills and managing money.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease but medical treatment can help improve the quality of life for affected persons. CHA offers a variety of programs and resources to help older adults age more comfortably, which include:

  • Elder Service Plan (ESP) offers an all-inclusive day program and health care plan for patients.  ESP can be a lifeline for patients who would ordinarily need to move into a nursing home.
  • House Calls Program is a special CHA primary care clinical program that brings medical care to the patient’s home, if they cannot routinely attend outpatient clinic visits due to illness and disability.

CHA has partnerships with several nursing homes through its Nursing Home Program where people can receive primary care from specially-trained CHA physicians and nurse practitioners.

If you are exploring options in care, let us introduce you to the compassionate team at Cambridge Health Alliance by calling 617-665-1305 or visit www.challiance.org/cha/find-a-doctor. Also, if you have further questions, read 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's.

Cambridge Health Alliance

Contributed By: Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health care system committed to serving all members of our communities. We have expertise in primary care, mental health and substance abuse, and caring for diverse and complex populations. CHA patients receive high quality care in convenient neighborhood locations, and have seamless access to advanced care through CHA’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. With over 140,000 patients in Cambridge, Somerville Everett and Boston’s Metro North, CHA is working hard to offer the integrated services its communities need now, and in the future.