You may have seen the news: We have another drug that is showing some promise in slowing Alzheimer’s disease.
This is how it works: Beta amyloid plaques, or build-up of “sticky” proteins on the neurons, is one characteristic of the disease. Not all people who have beta amyloid plaques have Alzheimer’s, but every person with Alzheimer’s has beta amyloid plaques. With the aid of improved brain scan techniques that more accurately detect them plaques, one focus of research is to prevent, slow, or dissolve the proteins.
Many antibodies have been in clinical trials for some time. Crenezumab, for instance, is showing some promise in early-onset Alzheimer’s.
But recently another antibody called Solanezumab became the first one proven to show definitive results in slowing beta amyloid plaque build-up on neurons, at least temporarily.
We are still a long way from a cure. There is no drug or treatment, including Solanezumab, which is capable of preventing or curing Alzheimer’s. All we can do is slow the progression of symptoms for anywhere from a few months to a few years. There is no “fix”. Sooner or later the disease takes over again. Yet every step helps.
What can you do?
- Note that research into Alzheimer’s is dramatically underfunded compared to other diseases that affect large portions of the population. So consider making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association in memory of any clients who are diagnosed with or die from this cruel disease.
- Include informational tips in your newsletters so you are giving your clients something besides just financial news. You can get information from these newsletters, from the Alzheimer’s Association itself or your local chapter, or from the government
- Ensure that your clients and their aging parents have valid and updated advance directives listing the treatment they want or don’t want if they are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
- Create a branded page of resources so you are prepared when a client is concerned about a family member. Include the names of the memory care facilities in the area and make sure you meet the directors so you can make a personal introduction with clients. Ask those directors for the names of geriatric care specialists and doctors who specialize in memory care, so you can have them on your list. Discover where there is adult day care and/or respite care available for those who hope to keep their loved ones at home. Research the availability of meal delivery services, bill payment services, in-home spa services (haircut, massage, manicure/pedicure, etc.), and any other services you find that may help patients or their in-home caregivers.
- Consider partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association and/or Corgenius to host a client education seminar on what to watch for, how to prepare ahead of time, and what resources are available if there is a diagnosis.
Remember, one in nine people aged 65 and over have Alzheimer’s disease and someone is diagnosed in the U. S. every 67 seconds. Inevitably, at least some and possibly most of your clients will be affected sooner or later. Prepare them now, and let them know you care about their lives and health, not just their money.
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