CHICAGO – As part of the Alzheimer’s Awareness initiative funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Cognitive Resources Network (ICRN), administratively led by Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center (RADC), is announcing the launch of its newly revamped website (ilbrainhealth.org) as a one-stop-shop for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia (ADRD) care and resource information for all Illinoisans. The new website launched April 1, 2022.
Dementia is the chronic loss of cognitive functions that affect one’s ability to think, remember and reason. Dementia ranges in severity and can progress to such an extent that it interferes with activities of daily living such as bathing, keeping house and paying bills. The five most common forms of dementia are: Mixed dementia, Alzheimer’s, Vascular, Lewy body, and Frontotemporal. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, diagnosed in 60 – 80% of all dementia cases.
While exact numbers for the related dementias in persons living in Illinois are less known, here are some recent facts about Alzheimer’s disease:
- An estimated 6.5 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2022. Seventy-three percent are age 75 and older.
- Alzheimer’s is the fifth-leading cause of death among individuals age 65 and older in the United States.
- African Americans and Hispanics are almost two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than whites but are 34% less likely to receive a diagnosis.
- An estimated 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 are living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
- There are approximately 230,000 Illinois residents living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2022. The number is projected to increase to 260,000 by the year 2050.
- 383,000 family caregivers bear the burden of Alzheimer’s disease in Illinois.
- Illinois caregivers provided an estimated 483 million hours of unpaid care in 2021.
- Total value of unpaid care in Illinois estimated at $8.8 billion in 2021.
(The Alzheimer’s Association. 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, Special Report: More Than Normal Aging: Understanding Mild Cognitive Impairment https://www.alz.org/media/Documents/alzheimers-facts-and-figures.pdf)
In 2019, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton launched the #ThroughOurEyes Campaign in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter. The listening tour was a six-month statewide initiative focused on hearing from caregivers, doctors, researchers and people diagnosed with dementia. In response, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced a grant, “Alzheimer Disease, Awareness of Available Services in Illinois,” to award a single agency funds to develop an online system that would educate Illinoisans of the early warning signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The grant also called for initiatives to increase awareness of public and private services available in Illinois to those diagnosed and living with dementia. Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center was awarded this six-month grant to expand ICRN’s current website.
Redesigned with information garnered through a series of focus groups conducted by the RADC grant team, the new website will display information and easy-to-navigate functions that appeal to a broader audience including professionals, caregivers, community members and those living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Users will also be able to search for dementia-related services and support groups within a 25-mile radius of their homes by utilizing the newly implemented FindRx search engine, Unite Us (formerly NowPow) on the ilbrainhealth.org website. The FindRx search engine empowers people to self-serve and find community based services near their homes, without disclosing personal information. Users can search for services (in 100+ languages) based on location, keywords or categories.
You are invited to share the ilbrainhealth.org platform with persons you know, who are either dementia caregivers or living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
About the ICRN
The ICRN is a coalition of local and state-based organizations and Alzheimer’s disease centers throughout the State of Illinois, including Rush University Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. The ICRN was created in 2012 to develop a state-based model to improve interactions among the aging network, the disability network, state Alzheimer’s Association chapters and state Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Centers. The overall goal is to help Illinois residents maintain cognitive health by providing access to information, support services, education, research, and training programs.
While the time span of the grant is limited, the ICRN has been in existence for a decade and will continue to improve the information provided on its website to meet current and future needs.
For more information about Illinois Cognitive Resources Network, visit ilbrainhealth.org.