Editorial - A chance to learn about Alzheimer'sRock-and-roll artist Bobby Vee’s announcement that he was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease created headlines in media outlets throughout the Midwest. Born and raised in Fargo, Vee, now 69, lives in the St. Cloud area and recorded the hit song, Susie Baby, in Minneapolis. His 1961 hit, Take Good Care of My Baby, went to No. 1 in the U.S. The news about Vee, while sad, presents a good opportunity to shed light on what Alzheimer’s disease is.
Rock-and-roll artist Bobby Vee's announcement that he was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease created headlines in media outlets throughout the Midwest.
Born and raised in Fargo, Vee, now 69, lives in the St. Cloud area and recorded the hit song, Susie Baby, in Minneapolis. His 1961 hit, Take Good Care of My Baby, went to No. 1 in the U.S.
The news about Vee, while sad, presents a good opportunity to shed light on what Alzheimer's disease is.
The Alzheimer's Assocation of Minnesota and North Dakota offers the following information: 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease; One in eight older Americans has it; Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only cause of death among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed; more than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care valued at $210 billion for persons with Alzheimer's and other dementias; payments for care are estimated to be $200 billion in the United States in 2012.
Senior Helpers, one of the nation's largest in-home senior care companies, recently commissioned an online quiz that showed more education and awareness is needed about Alzheimer's. Of the more than 1,000 people who took the quiz, 67 percent or two-thirds failed, getting fewer than 60 percent of the questions correct.
How much do you know? Take the quiz and find out:
1. Alzheimer's only affects memory skills. (Pick one.) a) True, other parts of the brain are not damaged by Alzheimer's. _b) False, it affects memory and language skills. _c) True, it spreads through the memory center, eventually keeping it from working at all._d) False, it affects memory, language, vision, sensation and motor skills, and decision making ability.
2. Can you get Alzheimer's if no one in your family has/had it? (Pick one.) a) Yes - anyone can develop the disease. _b) No - Alzheimer's is purely genetic. _c) No - a family member on your mother's side must have had Alzheimer's to put you at risk of developing it.
3. What's the most common "early" sign of Alzheimer's disease? (Pick one.) a) Can't remember NEW information. b) Can't remember OLD information._c) Can't remember ANY information.
4. At what age is your working memory the sharpest and fastest it will ever be? (Pick one.) a) 10-14 years old. _b) 2-10 years old._c) 30-35 years old._d) 14-18 years old._e) 35-45 years old._f) 26-30 years old._g) Late teens to early 20s._h) 45-50 years old.
5. What is the difference between Alzheimer's disease and dementia? (Pick one.) a) Alzheimer's is progressive (gets worse with time) but dementia is not._b) Dementia is not as serious as Alzheimer's; it just affects memory._c) They are actually the same thing, just different names._d) Dementia is a general category and Alzheimer's is a specific type of brain failure._e) Alzheimer's is treatable, but dementia is not.
6. Can you prevent Alzheimer's? (Pick one) a) Yes - you can prevent Alzheimer's with a healthy diet. _b) Yes - you can prevent Alzheimer's with brain exercises. _c) No - you cannot prevent Alzheimer's.
7. Do people die from Alzheimer's? (Pick one.) a) No - those with Alzheimer's usually die from other causes. _b) Yes - Alzheimer's is ultimately a fatal disease. _c) No - Alzheimer's is memory-impairment disease, not life-threatening in almost all cases.
8. These are all risk factors for Late Onset Alzheimer's - which is the greatest known risk? (Pick one.) a) Brain injury._b) Increasing age._c) Genetics._ d) Heart attack or stroke._e) Stress._ f) Diet. _g) Diabetes. _h) Obesity.
9. Alzheimer's is a natural stage of aging (Pick one.) a) True - all seniors eventually get Alzheimer's. _b) False - if you lead a healthy and active lifestyle, you won't get Alzheimer's. _c) False - Alzheimer's is not a natural stage of aging.
10. At age 85, your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease is closest to: a) 5 percent._b) 25 percent._c) 50 percent._d) 75 percent. _e) 100 percent.
11. Which of the following is NOT true about dementia? (Pick one.) a) It is terminal. _b) It is progressive (gets worse with time)._c) There is no known cure._ d) There are more than 80 causes, types and forms. _e) It always results in the person becoming angry and dangerous in the later stages.
Here are the answers:_1. d,_2. a, 3. a,_ 4. g, 5. d, 6. c, 7. b, _8. b, 9. c, 10. c, 11. e.
Senior Helpers, by the way, recently launched a free new Alzheimer's education program called Senior Gems. The program assigns each stage of the disease to a gem, like a diamond or ruby, and helps people with step-by-step instruction to navigate every mood and movement of a loved one who is coping with the various stages of the disease. To receive a free DVD of the Senior Helpers' Super Gems, go to www.seniorhelpers.com/SeniorGems.
More than half of us know someone with Alzheimer's disease, yet the majority of people don't know some of the most basic information about it. That needs to change.