Chrisi Karcz VP Clinical Operaons, Gardant Management
The month of November is recognized as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. It is a time for increased awareness and support for over 6.2 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. It is important to recognize memory loss is not a normal part of aging. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease include:
- Memory loss
- Poor judgment leading to bad decisions.
- Loss of spontaneity and sense of initiative
- Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks.
- Repeating questions
- Trouble handling money and paying bills.
- Wandering and getting lost
- Losing things or misplacing them in odd places
- Mood and personality changes
- Increased anxiety and/or aggression
- Difficulty with language
Healthy Facts to help seniors stay well include:
- Eat well.
- Stay active.
- Learn new things.
- Get enough sleep.
- Mind your meds.
- Stop smoking and limit alcohol.
- Stay connected.
- Know your blood pressure.
- See your doctor.
- Get a memory screening.
While there currently is not a cure for Alzheimer’s, early detection and diagnosis can assist with plan of care. With early diagnosis there are medications available to help slow the progression of the disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a valuable diagnostic tool will now be more readily available across the country due to CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) policy change approving amyloid positron emission tomography (PET). for diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. The specific details related to coverage will be left with the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC). The MACs are urged to swiftly implement broad and equitable coverage for all Medicare beneficiaries. The amyloid PET scans are an important part of diagnosis and treatment. Earlier detection will lead to earlier diagnosis, treatment, better management, and outcomes for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a great resource for those affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementia related diagnoses. They offer resources including facts, support groups and a 24/7 call Help Line, 1-800-272-3900.