3 min read
An Overwhelming Challenge
Brain health for older Americans may not typically get much attention, but the numbers are staggering. Nearly 1/3 of adults over the age of 65, 111M Americans, have either mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia, and many others notice subjective cognitive decline beyond that of typical age-related memory loss.
The physical and emotional toll on these people, their loved ones and their caregivers can be devastating, and the financial impact on families and the healthcare system is over $345B/year. Treatment options to date have been limited to older drugs with minimal impact, support groups and institutional care.
Impact of New Drugs
No wonder there is so much excitement about potential new drugs that may delay even just one element of decline, even for a few months and even for a small number of people. Recent FDA approval of lecanemab however, may cost Medicare up to $90,000/year per patient, not for a cure but for a modest slow-down in cognitive decline over the typical 10-year course of disease for a small set of early-stage patients.
Alternatively, while pharmaceutical companies have been spending billions of dollars with marginal success, other researchers have been building evidence that non-drug interventions can have meaningful impact for people experiencing Alzheimer’s Disease or MCI today.
Physical activity, mental stimulation, and social engagement are all proving to impact cognitive decline as well as other symptoms that come along with dementia. Evidence is building for programs by research trailblazers such as Dr. Deborah Barnes at the University of California, San Francisco and by innovative companies. These solutions are demonstrating outcomes not only relating to cognitive decline but also the physical, social and quality of life elements that matter most in the daily lives of people with memory loss and their families.
Should it surprise anyone that the health of our bodies and brains are deeply connected, or that engaging with other people can also impact our brain health?
The Moving Together program, for example, combines movement, mindfulness and community. Together Senior Health is available to people today and has recently completed a clinical trial demonstrating improvements in quality of life, reduction in falls, and reduced caregiver stress.
Pharmaceuticals may someday offer a relatively easy solution. In the meantime, programs that integrate these proven non-drug solutions and tailor delivery to the needs of people with memory loss can impact people’s lives right now.
In fact, according to a recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association, people with memory loss prefer a non-drug approach instead of a prescription medication.
Together Senior Health delivers evidence-based, enjoyable, online programs that combine multiple lifestyle elements and reduce the impact, cost and burden associated with cognitive decline. Our research-based programs are designed specifically to appeal to and benefit this audience, combining neuroscience and compassion. We are deeply committed to continuing to prove the efficacy of our approach and helping older adults impacted by memory loss to live their best lives today. To learn more, visit us at www.TogetherSeniorHealth.com