Millions of people live with a disease that robs your memory, control of your emotions and muscle mass. As the population ages and people live longer, more are diagnosed with a form of dementia, Alzheimer's disease.
The number of people living with the illness is about to grow, rapidly.
"This number is amazing or disturbing. Presently in the Rockford metro area, which includes Winnebago County and a little bit outside of that, there are 7,000 diagnosed cases and this comes from the National Alzheimer's Association review. And within 5 years, they expect that to increase to 20,000," says Anne Grindle, community relations manager of Satori Pathway.
The disease that can not be prevented, slowed or cured.
Anam Care in Rockford works with people living with dementia. The executive director says it's seeing an increase in families coming in for help.
"A lot of people that come in realize the symptoms just didn't start yesterday. Maybe they started several years ago, even 5 or more years ago," says Felecia Jackson of Anam Care.
Some of those signs include not being able to balance a checkbook when in the past they could, forgetting to pay bills and problems with hygiene.
"Loss of judgment is a big piece. You might see someone wearing a winter coat when it's 75 or someone who doesn't have the judgment to be social in the proper way when before they knew how to be social in the proper way," Grindle says.
Age is also a big factor, one in nine people 65 or older has Alzheimer's. That number jumps to 1/3 of people over 85.
"When we tag the name Alzheimer's or dementia that doesn't mean that's the end. There is longevity. That factored in with early diagnosis, there are medications that can be taken in those early stages," Jackson says.
Satori Pathway runs a support group the first Monday of every month for people who want more help or information about dementia. It's at noon at Anam Glen at 8104 Sayer Road, Rockford.