New study shows 1 in 10 older adults in Arizona have Alzheimer’s

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A new study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia shows an estimated 1 in 10 (about 11%) of Arizona residents ages 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease.

Since November is recognized as family caregivers month, David Coon, Associate Dean of Research Initiatives, Support and Engagement and Professor at the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, explained the data from that perspective.

“Our population continues to age and aging is a key risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease. So, recent research is really in line with what we expect in regards to that,” Coon said.

According to Coon, Arizona is the state with the fastest percentage growth between now and 2025 of people living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Coon addressed the research being done in relation to older adults living with dementia and their care partners, with efforts to improve the quality of life for both.

“Family caregivers are often the patient behind the patient, they’re the hidden patient when you think about that,” Coon said.

Being a caregiver can take a toll on a person, they could be at risk for developing anxiety, depression, or it could impact your physical health.

Coon stresses that it’s imperative to take care of the stress caused by caregiving and The Center for Innovation in Healthy and Resilient Aging provides a variety of resources.

“We develop evidence-based interventions to help alleviate that sense of burden, that sense of stress. Through COVID we moved to doing that online, through Zoom, to bring people together so they could stay in their homes and be with their loved ones,” Coon said.

Researchers in the center are also investigating the relationship between exercise and Alzheimer’s.

“Exercise is pretty good medicine in lots of different ways, heart health is brain health,” Coon said.

David Coon, Associate Dean and Professor, Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation and Director at ASU Center for Innovation in Healthy and Resilient Aging

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