Barbara Fradkin – FLORIDA TODAY

Q: My father just was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  How can I learn more?

A:  I am sorry to hear about your father’s diagnosis.  When a doctor says those words,” You have Alzheimer’s disease,” our world pretty much stops. Alzheimer’s has become a public health and healthcare crisis. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. One in three seniors in the U.S. will die from it. The cost of caring for someone with dementia during their lifetime is a staggering $373,527.  Florida has the second highest prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in the nation (after California). In Brevard County, 13% of people 65+ have Alzheimer’s. These statics are a cause for concern. But with proper education, advocacy, and support, loved ones with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis have a good chance of getting through this with dignity.

Alzheimer’s disease is one type of dementia. 50-70% of those affected with dementia, have Alzheimer’s disease.  Detection and treatment is increasingly sophisticated and new medications are being tested.  Individuals with dementia, caregivers and healthy volunteers are all needed for clinical studies focused on Alzheimer’s. This may be something to consider if you have a new diagnosis or a family member is concerned about getting the disease. Merritt Island Medical Research does free memory screenings twice a month at One Senior Place. They also are conducting clinical trials. ClinCloud is another company that does free memory screenings and clinical trials screenings.  And if you are in the Orlando area, Charter Research is doing the same thing.

June 21st is the summer solstice, the day of the year when we have the most light.  On the “longest day,” people around the world fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s with a host of activities to bring awareness to the disease.  Let people know this fight is important to you, by joining the staff of One Senior Place for The Longest Day from Noon until 4 PM. Trained facilitators will be on hand for Virtual Dementia Tours, enabling caregivers, family members and healthcare professionals to experience for themselves the physical and mental challenges faced by those with dementia. Many come away with a new understanding and commitment to person-centered care. In addition, attendees can have their memories tested and enjoy a hand massage, while their loved ones with dementia participate in a creative art project.

I hope you will join us on The Longest Day to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s and gain the knowledge we all need to fight this disease. You can pick up a free Alzheimer’s resource guide while you are there. Remember: You are not alone.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.

Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker and a Certified Care Manager for One Senior Place in Viera.