WGCU | By Bryant Monteilh
Published December 18, 2023 at 7:06 PM EST
In Florida, one out of five residents is older than 65 and they have become one of the fastest growing in the state.
Florida also has one of the fastest rising rates of Alzheimer’s dementia — 580,000 Floridians aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is a growing public health crisis in Florida and the impact of the disease is projected to rise as the population continues to age.
Health officials say Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. Memory problems are typically one of the first warning signs of Alzheimer’s and related dementias.
Amy Schenk, who works for the Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers, said nthat as people get older a lot of things change.
“But one of the things that’s important to know is the difference between changes that happen to our memory just as a result of getting older or changes that may indicate that there’s something else going on,” she said.
Alzheimer’s involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. It can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 1 in 9 people age 65 and older (10.7%) has Alzheimer’s and almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.
Older Black Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as older white people. Older Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias as older white people.
The Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida will have a free screening Wednesday (December 20th) at their clinic in Fort Myers. The screenings are for those 50 and older and the aim is the increase awareness of the importance of early detection of memory loss.
“There’s a lot of things that can cause memory issues. Things like lack of sleep, things like stress, a new medication, medication interactions, vitamins deficiencies, all kinds of things that can impact our memory,” said Schenk. “And what we want people to do is not guess, we want them to find out what’s going on.”
To find out more about the free screenings and the services the center provides, you can call them at 239-939-7777 or visit their website at nprc-swfl.com.