Latest facts and figures show dementia and Alzheimer's affect women the most

MOSCOW, ID - According to the latest facts and figures from the Alzheimer's Association, more than five-million people are living with the disease and that number is expected to increase rapidly as the baby boomer generation ages.

Reporter Rachel Dubrovin explains why Alzheimer's is significantly more common in women, and how the disease impacts caregivers.

"It's been a journey," said dementia caregiver Kristen Prieur.

Pullman Resident Kristen Prieur is a caregiver. Almost three years ago, her mother was diagnosed with dementia.

"So it's really walking that balance," said Prieur. "Because with a two year old, you can say 'No.' But to a 91 year old, you don't get to do that."

"That'll be good," said Martha.

"Education was really a big piece for us," said Prieur. "We didn't really understand what was going on."

"Dementia is just an umbrella term that describes things like memory loss, changes in mood, behavior, judgment," said Executive Director of the Inland Northwest Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association Joel Loiacono.

Loiacono said the latest facts and figures show that dementia, and Alzheimer's in particular, hits women the hardest.

"Two thirds of the cases of Alzheimer's disease are women," said Loiacono.

Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia are a national problem. But Adult Day Health in Moscow is one of the local resources for caregivers."

"If we didn't have Adult Day Health, it would be almost impossible," said Prieur.

"It takes such a burden off of the caregiver to know that somebody really does understand what's happening," said Adult Day Health Social Worker Sarah Rial. "And that they're not crazy."

Circles of Caring Adult Day Health not only provides a safe place for caregivers to leave their loved ones during the day, they also hold educational meetings and provide advice.

"Don't forget to take care of yourself," said Riai. "Because if you don't take care of yourself, everything falls apart."

Prieur said being a caregiver isn't easy, but Adult Day Health and educational meetings make it manageable. Her advice is to keep a sense of humor in tact.

"Finally, one day she looked at me and said, 'You know, I don't remember what I did. Don't ask me. I can't tell you. All I can tell you is I had a great day and I feel really good," said Prieur. "What more can you ask for."

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is expected to sign a bill Thursday that would provide legislative authorization to develop an Alzheimer's Disease Plan for Washington State.

Idaho signed their Alzheimer's Disease Plan into law in 2013.
Circles of Caring Adult Day Health has three upcoming educational support groups for caregivers that are dealing with dementia. Visit their website for the complete schedule.