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Assisted living offers an option for families

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Americans today are living longer and generally healthier lives. With national life expectancy at an all-time high, more and more families are serving as caregivers for loved ones with age-related diseases, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. Increasingly, assisted living options are giving families the help they need.

Five percent of those over age 65 have some form of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type. Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder that causes memory loss, as well as changes in personality and behavior, and a decline in reasoning ability. According to the National Institute on Aging, the number of people with the disease at any one time doubles every five years after age 65. By age 80, one in five display some symptoms of Alzheimer’s. That number increases to one in two after age 90, according to the Mayo Clinic.

While research progresses in diagnosing and treating the disease, the most immediate source of relief for families touched by Alzheimer’s may be in the area of residential care. Assisted living communities provide professional help for those with Alzheimer’s, enabling family members to add an enhanced level of care to the mix, while increasing quality time spent with the Alzheimer’s patient.

“The daily challenge of caring for a parent or loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease is physically and emotionally draining,” said Sheryl Ludeke-Smith, Vice President of Alzheimer’s Care at American Retirement Corporation. “It takes a tremendous toll on the family providing care and usually ends after a catastrophic event coerces the family to seek a higher level of help. That’s why assisted living and specially-designed memory enhancement programs have become viable options in the face of increasing care needs as the disease progresses.”

Assisted living enables those with Alzheimer’s to exist in an environment that offers professional care, protection and different tools for enhancing memory, the first and most notable casualty of the disease’s progression.

More than 4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease, and there are almost 360,000 new cases each year. That number is projected to increase as the current population ages, according to the National Institute on Aging.

With total assisted living capacity in the U.S. today at less than 200,000 residential apartments in senior living communities, there’s already a huge disparity between the number of people who currently have the disease and the number of dedicated care communities with space to accommodate them.

Information and care resources are available to families nationwide. For more information, and a free brochure about Alzheimer’s Disease, call American Retirement Corporation at 615-221-2264.

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