MILWAUKEE ⏤ Wisconsin deaths from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Wisconsin is not the only state seeing this trend. In fact, most other states are in the same boat, according to an Alzheimer’s Association analysis of U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data from this year.
The analysis covered the period from January through October of this year.
Wisconsin has seen a 13.9% increase in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia deaths compared to the five-year average, according to the analysis. That’s 629 more deaths than average.
Nationally, there have been at least 34,851 more deaths (a 16.8% increase) due to Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia nationwide than would statistically be expected.
The analysis didn’t include a breakdown at the county level, according to an Alzheimer’s Association Wisconsin Chapter spokesperson.
Leadership worried about overall increase
However, the organization’s leadership is worried about the overall increase in deaths among the vulnerable population.
Their fears heightened as many of them are living in communal settings, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
“Families with a loved one in a facility have been hit hard by the pandemic, and COVID-19 is altering normal patterns of mortality,” said Michael Bruhn, director of public policy for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Wisconsin Chapter.
Could be due to several factors
The Alzheimer’s Association contends that the uptick in deaths could be due to one or more of these factors:
- A lack of easy and accessible COVID-19 testing, especially early in the pandemic. This caused COVID-19 deaths to be inaccurately recorded as deaths due to other causes (such as Alzheimer’s disease);
- The vulnerability of these individuals: older seniors, often living in communal settings and often having underlying chronic conditions;
- And/or indirect causes due to the pandemic, including overburdened health care systems, fear of seeking treatment, or other causes related to economic shutdowns and stay-at-home orders.
Impact of social isolation on residents with Alzheimer’s
The adverse impact of social isolation and limited social engagement for those with dementia has been overwhelming, the association stated.
Wisconsin State Assembly Republican leadership last week unveiled a COVID-19 legislation package that includes funds for more COVID-19 testing. The package also allows for “an essential family member/caregiver” to visit a loved one in nursing homes in specific circumstances.
Lawmakers have not set a timetable for when they may consider the legislation.
Also in the News
RACINE COUNTY – Wednesday (Dec. 1) is the first day that candidates for local office can circulate nomination papers for the Spring 2022 election, scheduled for April 5. Local government voters will elect board members, supervisors, alderpersons, trustees and judges. The deadline for filing nomination papers in most cases is Jan. 4, 2022. If necessary,…
Racine, Wis. – This Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., the 16th Street Studios will be hosting its 25th Anniversary Open House. Come celebrate 25 years of dreaming, creating, career-building, and growth in the artist community of Racine while you shop for unique holiday gifts that are sure to dazzle. Admission is free. Touted…
From local boutiques and restaurants in two thriving downtowns to large corporations, Racine and Kenosha are home to some of the best local commerce around. One such venue is the Kenosha Public Market (KPM). The year 2020 set records in many arenas, including local business hardships. But just like the phoenix rising from the ashes,…