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Healthy Living: Caring for a person living with Alzheimer’s is a 24/7 job

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June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month in Washington State and a time to increase people’s understanding of the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 110,000 people in Washington state are living with Alzheimer’s.  Another 348,000 are helping care for a loved one with the disease.

“Dementia is devastating, both emotionally and financially,” said Carrie McBride, the communications director for the Washington State Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.  She also says it’s a long and difficult journey for the person living with the disease and people who are offering supportive care.

Mikaela Louie moved back to Seattle in 2012 after her mom was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s.  She is also part of a growing number of millennials who are now caring for a parent or grandparent with the disease.

“This disease takes an emotional and physical toll on caregivers,” said Mikaela.  “My dad retired early to become a full-time caregiver, which is a 24/7 job.”

Mikaela sat down to share her experience as a caregiver with Q13’s Marni Hughes.  Mikaela’s hope is by talking about her story, it helps others facing the same challenges.

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Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.  Experts say it's important to recognize the early signs of Alzheimer's and have those tough conversations if you suspect a loved one may be showing symptoms - because early intervention can help people plan for the future before the disease progresses.

"Many people believe that dementia is a normal part of aging," said McBride with the Alzheimer's Association.  "That simply isn't true.  It changes a person's memory, thinking and behavior to the point that it impacts their everyday life."

If you'd like to learn more about the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease or reach out to the Alzheimer's Association of Washington, click here.

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