Elderly alert systems and early diagnosis can prevent injury in dementia patients
July 11, 2011
People who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease only account for about 13 percent of Medicare subscribers. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that their expenses make up about 34 percent of Medicare spending.
Alzheimer's can affect the brains ability to comprehend spacial relationships, which can increase the risk of falling. As one in three elderly adults experiences a fall each year, personal emergency response systems could be a good investment. Medical alert systems can provide security for older individuals, in case they fall and cannot reach a phone to call for help.
"One of the top challenges is to integrate screening into routine healthcare," Barbara Sahakian, a psychiatrist and professor at Cambridge University, told the Daily Mirror. "In the next couple of years, we could come to an agreement about the best and most effective biomarkers."
Professor Sahakian is developing simple tests that could be used to screen elderly individuals to determine if they are at-risk of developing dementia and allow them to begin medical treatments right away. Treating Alzhemier's early can help slow down the loss of memory and cognitive abilities, which could lower the risk of injury.