Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Basics of Alzheimer's Disease

by Roberta Taylor

On November 6, William J. Kirkpatrick, Licensed Social Worker and Program Director for the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, presented a follow-up session on Alzheimer’s Disease at the West Parish Congregational Church. (For a review of the first session see Large Group Attends Session on Alzheimer's Disease.) This was a very informative and valuable presentation, with audience members asking numerous questions.
Linda Mc Donough and William Kirkpatrick      photo Rosabelle Tifft

Mr. Kirkpatrick stated that at least 5,000,000 people in the United States are at some stage of the disease - early, middle, or late. Explaining that Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth leading cause of death in our country, he presented a number of facts concerning the disease, with the above being most surprising to many.

Mr. Kirkpatrick spoke of the four major risk factors for the disease, the highest being age: 90% of those people with the disease are over 60. Three additional risk factors are health status, environment, and genetics. The focus of future research, he said, will be on drugs and early detection.

Along with detailed information concerning the disease, Mr. Kirkpatrick encouraged us to learn even more by contacting and other resources. He alerted the audience to a 24/7 Helpline (800-272-3900), which offers information and referral services, support groups, safety services, advocacy, and education programs.

This is a very important topic, as evidenced by the high number of people who attended both sessions. People with Alzheimer’s Disease, care-givers, family, and the general population should pay close attention to helping combat this disease.

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