A new survey of New Jersey adults, conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind on behalf of Alzheimer’s New Jersey, reveals that nearly two-thirds – or more than 68 percent – of New Jersey residents know someone who has or had Alzheimer’s or dementia. Alzheimer’s New Jersey (formerly the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater New Jersey Chapter) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide support, assistance and information to families impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia and to help advance research for a cure. Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, changes behaviors and, eventually, the ability to carry out everyday tasks.
The survey revealed that Alzheimer’s strikes close to home. For those respondents who knew someone who has or had the disease, 71 percent were family members. Of that group, 40 percent were immediate family and 31 percent were other relatives. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is emotionally and physically exhausting, and family and friends often provide most of the care over a period of many years.
Alzheimer’s is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. When asked which of the following diseases they were most concerned about developing – Alzheimer’s, cancer or heart disease – New Jersey residents rank Alzheimer’s second after cancer but ahead of heart disease. A total of 48 percent of respondents cited cancer as their number one concern; 27 percent cited Alzheimer’s; and 20 percent selected heart disease. Those over the age of 60, however, ranked their concern of developing Alzheimer’s as number one ahead of both cancer and heart disease. A total of 38 percent cited Alzheimer’s; 34 percent selected cancer and 18 percent cited heart disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. Until the disease can be effectively treated or prevented, the number of people affected will increase significantly if current population trends continue – and New Jersey’s population is most certainly aging. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of New Jersey’s population that is over age 65 increased from 13.5 percent in 2010 to 14.7 percent in 2014, resulting in over 1.5 million New Jersey residents over the age of 65.
Given this, and the fact that age is the greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s, President and CEO of Alzheimer’s New Jersey, Ken Zaentz, says that his organization wants to send a clear message to every resident in the state. “We are here to help. Our wide range of community programs and services offer hands-on support for families that are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and include our Respite Care and Wellness Program, Family Support Groups, Community Education Programs and Helpline.”
About Alzheimer’s New Jersey
Since 1985, Alzheimer’s New Jersey has provided care and support for New Jersey families and has helped advance research for a cure. As Alzheimer’s New Jersey (formerly known as Alzheimer’s Association, Greater New Jersey Chapter), their commitment to local programs and services is stronger than ever. Their mission is to provide support, assistance and information to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, their families and care partners; and to support research into the causes, prevention, treatment and cure of Alzheimer’s disease. Visit alznj.org or call 888-280-6055 for more information.
About the Survey
The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind telephone survey was conducted in May, 2016 with 811 New Jersey adults, and was funded by Alzheimer’s New Jersey. Utilizing best practices in survey methodology, PublicMind undertakes research nationally and throughout New Jersey.