CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – In a state where 64 percent of the population is considered to live in a rural area, Alzheimer’s disease is prevalent and in parts of the state there are limited health resources for care and treatment.
That is why the Alzheimer’s Association West Virginia Chapter is holding a virtual community forum at 1 p.m. on April 9 to talk to residents around the state about caregiving, diagnosis, treatment and resource needs. At the event, participants will hear a brief overview on Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory loss. The public is encouraged to bring a friend who has been affected by the disease and share their thoughts about how the Association can help people in your community.
To register, call 800-272-3900. After registering, participants will receive a link to join the session.
Sharon M. Covert, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association West Virginia Chapter, said, “Alzheimer’s can be a lonely disease because most family caregivers shoulder all the care needs alone. With the education and support we provide, we can make that care journey better so that family members can provide the best care possible.”
Bernard G. Schreurs, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience at the West Virginia University School of Medicine and a faculty member of the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, said that 23 percent of the state’s population over age 65 have six or more comorbid medical conditions with dementia.
Health inequities exist, he said at a recent Alzheimer’s Association event, because in some parts of the state there is limited availability of quality local healthcare providers. Many residents, he said, do not routinely see their doctors and for those who do, few get cognitive assessments, which is important to early diagnosis of the fatal, progressive brain disease.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2021 Facts and Figures report, there are 39,000 West Virginians, aged 65 and older, living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2025, that number is expected to grow 12.8 percent to 44,000.
Covert said the Community Forum is a great way to connect with the Alzheimer’s Association. If people need immediate help, they can also call the Association’s 24/7Helpline at 800-272-3900.