Study says Alzheimer’s cases are on the rise
"We don't know exactly why that's happening, but what we do know is that the same risk factors that puts someone at risk for developing Alzheimer are some of the same risk factors that put someone at risk for getting covid."
NORTH DAKOTA (KVRR) — New research for the state of North Dakota shows that the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s has climbed during the pandemic.
“For a long time the Alzheimer’s Association has known the staggering rates at which our community gets diagnosed with dementia,” Alzheimer’s Association Chief Strategy Officer, Mollie O’Brien said.
As of last year since the pandemic began, that number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease has grown 11.8 %.
“We don’t know exactly why that’s happening, but what we do know is that the same risk factors that puts someone at risk for developing Alzheimer are some of the same risk factors that put someone at risk for getting covid,” O’Brien said.
With an increase in cases many people throughout the community are facing hardships.
“The burden of Alzheimer on individuals and families continues to grow including in North Dakota and we know that people with Alzheimer and dementia are in long term care settings which can cause increased risk,” said O’Brien.
With that in mind, people working within long term care facilities faced even more struggles.
“Research shows that six in 10 caregivers were employed in the past year and really struggled to balance the demands of their job with the demands of care giving,” O’Brien said.
After his wife Lisa was diagnosed with Alzheimer back in 2015, Mel Millsap has taken the role of caregiver as of last year and says it’s been quite the difficult journey.
“In the beginning it was much simpler and now it’s very difficult so it was just hard, its earth shattering. It went from pretty easy to really difficult. It’s almost routine, but it’s not because to someone else,I think some people would run away because it’s not easy,” Mel Millsap from Karlsruhe, North Dakota said.
The Alzheimer’s Association wants people to know that there is help out there for people faced with difficulties of caring for a loved one suffering from the disease and dementia.
“The Alzheimer’s Association doesn’t want anyone to go through the journey in dementia alone. We are here to partner with you and your family. Walk with us, advocate with us and volunteer with us. We are your partner in your journey,” said O’Brien.
The Alzheimer’s Association is working with the department of health on developing an Alzheimer’s state plan for North Dakota.