A recent survey conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind on behalf of Alzheimer’s New Jersey® found that an overwhelming majority of New Jersey residents with memory loss concerns (89%) visited a doctor to seek diagnosis. However, only about half (54%) of the physicians seen suggested support programs to assist those with the disease and their caregivers.
In New Jersey alone, over 600,000 people are affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, which includes 180,000 individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and over 450,000 caregivers. To date, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or a way to stop or slow its progression, however, there are services – such as education programs, respite and support groups – that are helpful and important for the person with the disease, their loved ones and their caregivers. According to Ken Zaentz, President and CEO, Alzheimer’s New Jersey, information about support services should be part of the diagnosis conversation that doctors have with their patients and the patients’ caregivers and families. For example, a referral could be made to the Alzheimer’s New Jersey Helpline for next steps.
“Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating. It is so important that those diagnosed and their caregivers are informed that there are support services that they and their families can access and take advantage of,” said Zaentz. “Both people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers should have a thorough understanding of the disease and how it will impact their lives so that they can create a plan for their future. Alzheimer’s New Jersey provides this type of support.”