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Dementia-related deaths increased by 15.5 percent in Maine during the COVID-19 pandemic

In Maine, there were 269 more deaths from Alzheimer’s and dementia in 2020 than compared to averages over the past five years, according to a recent report

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — A recent report is providing a look at how Mainers living with dementia and Alzheimer's have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Alzheimer's Association is reporting 269 more people in Maine died from the disease last year compared to averages over the past five years. This is 15.5 percent higher than average. 

In 2019, 544 Mainers died of Alzheimer's disease, according to the report.

“Part of the disease is you may forget to wash your hands," Drew Wyman, executive director of the Alzheimer's Association, Maine Chapter, said. "You may not be able to follow [COVID-19 safety protocols] and right now the data shows us that people that have Alzheimer's and dementia are at higher risk [for COVID-19].”

The report also shows the increased challenges caregivers of those with Alzheimer's and dementia face during the pandemic:  

- Number of Mainers serving as unpaid family caregivers: 46,000

- Total hours of unpaid care provided: 68,000,000

- Total value of unpaid care: $1,378,000,000

Folks at the Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter want to remind Mainers across the state that help is always available for them. 

“We offer support groups, social engagement activities, and education programs for people living with dementia, care partners, and family members," Alison Russell, manager of education and community volunteers at the Alzheimer's Association, Maine Chapter, said. "[There is support for] really anyone who is navigating dementia or interested in learning more throughout the state of Maine.”

To learn more about services available, head to ALZ.org. There is also a 24/7 Helpline you can call: 800.272.3900. 

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