According to a recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association, Arizona is the state with the fastest-growing rate of individuals struggling with Alzheimer’s. The report also indicated no other state had a higher increase in dementia-related deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic than Arizona.
True, Arizona is by no means the only state where Alzheimer’s and dementia represent a significant public health crisis. For example, in nearby Colorado, 76,000 people over the age of 65 are struggling with Alzheimer’s. State organizations, individuals, and businesses are responding in various ways to ensure these people receive proper treatment and adequate memory care.
Similar steps must be taken in Arizona. To some degree, it appears they already are. For example, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, Arizona is also the state with the highest number of average hours per week spent by caregivers tending to Alzheimer’s patients.
However, it’s important for family members of Alzheimer’s patients and all those capable of helping those with this condition to understand that this is a problem that’s likely to get worse in the coming months and years. They must prepare accordingly.
The situation will probably become increasingly significant as a result of the pandemic. When the virus was spreading rapidly, it was necessary to encourage isolation to limit the spread. However, an unintended consequence of this has been a worsening of symptoms in some Alzheimer’s patients.
Although this condition is not yet fully understood, it is known that depression, anxiety, and even boredom can exacerbate Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, during the past year, those with this condition were more likely to be depressed or anxious, as they had fewer opportunities to connect with others. Research consistently shows that socializing and having visitors can slow the progression of the illness in Alzheimer’s patients.
It’s also worth noting that many retirees have chosen to move to Arizona in recent years. This trend is a critical factor influencing the high rate of Alzheimer’s in the state. Additionally, the large Baby Boomer population is nearing the age when Alzheimer’s is most likely to develop. The nation’s elderly population is growing in general, and numerous members of that population are choosing to make Arizona their home.
Again, it’s critical for everyone throughout Arizona who is either affected by this condition or in a position to offer assistance to those affected by it to prepare accordingly. Along with ensuring elderly Arizonians have access to memory care, according to Terri Spitz, the executive director for the Desert Southwest chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, it’s also important to improve Alzheimer’s education throughout the state.
Many are unfamiliar with the early signs of Alzheimer’s. As such, it’s relatively common for those with Alzheimer’s to not receive a proper diagnosis until the illness has progressed fairly substantially. This prevents them from taking action early to prepare for the future while also doing what they can to slow the progression of their symptoms.
It’s worth remembering that anyone can potentially develop Alzheimer’s at some point in life. Thus, educating the public can help individuals recognize symptoms of this illness that they might be experiencing. Again, this is going to be a worsening problem for Arizonians in the near future. However, it is possible to minimize the severity of this health crisis by preparing for it.