Alzheimer’s disease and dementia affect millions of American seniors. For some seniors, these conditions slowly develop over time, while in others they appear to have a rapid onset. Knowing the risk factors for Alzheimer’s and dementia can help senior care givers get their charges diagnosed and treated early, improving their long term quality of life.
Age is the most common risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s or dementia. The vast majority of people with Alzheimer’s are over the age of 65. In fact, the older one gets, the greater the chance of developing the condition. Medical experts say the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles every five years after a person reaches age 65. By the time a man or woman is 85, he or she has a 50 percent chance of developing the illness.
Family history is another strong predictor of Alzheimer’s disease. People who have had parents or siblings with the illness are at elevated risk to develop it themselves. Certain genes have been identified as potential risk factors for the disease. For example apolipoprotein (APOE-e4) has been identified as a risk gene and may be a factor in nearly a quarter of Alzheimer’s cases.
Head trauma may also be a risk factor with regard to Alzheimer’s. Seniors can ward off this risk by fall-proofing their homes and wearing a helmet while bicycling.
Seniors who are at elevated risk of developing Alzheimer’s should be focused on healthy living and mental exercise to help stave off the development of the illness. Senior care professionals in home care and other professions can help seniors with memory games and activities to keep their minds sharp.
Always Best Care helps connect seniors and their families with highly qualified, affordable in-home and assisted living finder/referral services. To learn more, call 1-855-470-CARE.