08/23/2019- It’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and yet Alzheimer’s remains a topic many shy away from talking about, but efforts by the Alzheimer’s Association and Marinette County Elderly Services are looking to change that. Kate Kahles is the Program Manager with the Alzheimer’s Association, Wisconsin Chapter and she says educational programs and events are helping to bring more awareness about the disease and its impacts to residents, as well as create a community that’s more accommodating and sensitive to those living with Alzheimer’s.
“I think there’s sometimes a misconception that all individuals with memory loss are living in some type of long-term care facility and not out in the community and that’s not true. 70% of people who are living with Alzheimer’s Disease live in the community, and so, to know that that community knows how to react and respond to them is incredibly important.”
Although there’s no known cure for Alzheimer’s, Kahles says new treatment methods have proven effective at slowing the progression of the disease when introduced in the early stages. She also says that while genetics play some role in determining whether or not a person will get Alzheimer’s, so do lifestyle habits like diet, physical activity, and cognitive stimulation.
“A lot of families, if they have a family history of this disease, tend to think that there’s nothing that they can do; that if they have parents and grandparents who’ve had this disease that they will develop the disease and there’s nothing they can do. And I think this type of research really offers hope to those people that even if we inherit genes, we’re learning that there are choices we make every day that can determine how those genes really express themselves and whether we develop these diseases or not.”
To learn more about or take part in any one of the several upcoming events in Marinette County for those living with Alzheimer’s or their caretakers, visit alz.org/wi or contact Marinette County Elderly Services at 715-854-7453.