Each June, seniors and advocates celebrate Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month all over the country. As the month concludes, we thought it would be helpful to discuss the importance of preserving brain health a “check up from the neck up”—a critical aspect of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as we get older. The brain is such an important and complex organ, and injuries and diseases affecting its performance can affect the way we think, act, feel, and behave.
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. Dementia is a general term for memory loss and other issues with cognitive ability that are impactful enough to seriously disrupt a person’s day-to-day life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for the majority of dementia cases in the United States—estimated to be between 60 and 80 percent.
More than 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and this number is projected to grow to 14 million individuals by 2050. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, early diagnosis initiatives can help with managing symptoms, however, only 16 percent of American seniors say that they receive regular cognitive assessments from their healthcare providers. You can watch a quick video here with some important statistics about the disease and ways to get involved with finding a cure.
Similarly, brain injury is thought to increase the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s, other types of dementia, and overall cognitive decline. Fortunately, Medicare programs cover many testing and treatment options for older Americans who suffer from brain injury, and although Alzheimer’s disease specifically doesn’t currently have a cure, there are a number of treatment options available that can help manage symptoms.
As always, it is critical that we as seniors make sure we know exactly what our specific Medicare plan covers, including inpatient treatments and prescription medications that can help treat brain injuries and related illnesses. You can learn more about coverage options here to ensure that you are informed about how to take care of your brains!