Dakota Prairie Helping Hands raises Alzheimer’s awareness

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November is finally here with Thanksgiving looming in the distance, leafless tree branches, and the occasional snowstorm.

Frank Turner

The month signals a changing of the seasons, with the first signs of the impending winter. And thanks to Ronald Reagan, the month of November is also Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. According to seniorliving.org, in 1983, when Reagan designated November as Alzheimer’s awareness month, nearly 2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s. Today, that number has increased to nearly 5.4 million.

Dakota Prairie Helping Hands is spreading the word and would like to share some information on Alzheimer’s. The following facts and statistics are to inform Adams County and to help raise awareness of the devastating disease.

* Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

* 16.1 million Americans provide UNPAID care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

* 5. million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.

* Between 2000 and 2015 deaths from Heart Disease have decreased 11 % while deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 123 %.

* 1 in 3 Seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.  It kills more that Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer combined.

* Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease.

* One in 10 people age 65 and older (10 %) has Alzheimer’s dementia.

* Almost two thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.


*14,000 are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

*There are 30,000 Caregivers.

*3rd leading cause of death in ND.

*2nd highest death rate in the nation (South Dakota is 1st).

Eighty-three percent of the help provided to older adults in the United States comes from family members, friends or other unpaid caregivers.  Nearly half of all caregivers who provide help to older adults do so for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia.  WHO ARE THE CAREGIVERS?

*About one in three caregivers (34 %) is age 65 or older.

*Approximately two-thirds of caregivers are women; more specifically, over one-third of caregivers are daughters.

Approximately one-quarter of dementia caregivers are “sandwich generation” caregivers – meaning that they care not only for an aging parent, but also for children under age 18.


1.  Memory changes that disrupt daily life

2.  Challenges in planning or solving problems

3.  Difficulty completing familiar tasks

4.  Confusion with time or place

5.  Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

6.  New problems with words in speaking or writing

7.  Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

8.  Decreased or poor judgement

9.  Withdrawal from work or social activities

10.  Changes in mood and personality.

The above statistics are from the Alzheimer’s Association.  Dakota Prairie Helping Hands has more information available at the office at 115 South Main Street in Hettinger.  Services are available to assist caregivers in the area of providing respite care for short periods of time so that the caregiver can get to appointments or just get a brief outing during the day.  Volunteers are also available to help with errands and other tasks.  If there is interest in a Caregiver’s Support Group, arrangements could also be made.