Thursday, July 3, 2014


Alzheimer's Disease is a disease that robs a person of his mind and dignity, and takes him away from his loved ones. He is there physically, yet not there as the person you once knew.

AD afflicts mostly older people. We can take preventive measures like keeping ourselves mentally active and taking certain supplements, but there is no guarantee we won't have AD in our old age. There is as yet no cure for AD. The AD patient can live on for ten years or more, before he fades away into the twilight.

Do you or your elderly parent display any of these warning signs?

In the US, according to the Alzheimer's Association, more people die of AD than of breast cancer and prostate cancer combined (see video below). The Alzheimer's Disease Foundation Malaysia (ADFM) reports that an estimated 50,000 people have the disease. However, most of them are not diagnosed, because relatives think that the symptoms displayed are a normal part of growing old and thus do not seek medical advice for it.

Residents at a dementia facility in Malaysia playing a game of Bingo. Women are at a much higher risk of getting AD than men.

In Singapore, the statistics provided by the Alzheimers Disease Association (ADA)are equally alarming. In 2005, an estimated 22,000 people aged 65 years and above had AD. By 2020, the figure will increase to 53,000 and by 2050 the projected figure will further increase to 187,000.

Fortunately, public awareness of AD is slowly spreading, thanks to books, movies and documentaries about the disease. You might have seen the movie 'The Iron Lady' starring Meryl Streep in the role of Margaret Thatcher. The former PM of Britain was an AD patient, so was former US President Ronald Reagan.

It helps when celebrities come forward to announce that they have AD, and are supporting fund-raising efforts for AD research. And when families share their challenges caring for a loved one with AD, it gives strength to others going through the same journey.

Glen Campbell, now 78, was diagnosed with AD in 2011. Many of us still remember his hit songs of the 60s and 70s like 'Rhinestone Cowboy' and 'Wichita Lineman'. He gave his last concert the same year, together with his children who were his back-up band. In April 2014, he was moved from his family home to an Alzheimer's facility, reports The Rolling Stone magazine.

If you are an AD caregiver, you might want to attend this talk (see below) organized by ADFM, and join the AD care-givers network.

For more previous posts about Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia (and there are plenty!), please type in the key word in the search box on the side column.

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