More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is projected to increase to 13 million by 2050 according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s is a disease in the brain that affects thinking, behavior and memory. The Alzheimer’s Association has made great strides in raising awareness of the disease over the past couple of decades, and one of the primary vehicles for this is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.
Talking about dementia should be a discussion for all, and raising awareness of the impact of the lives of people affected by the condition is how we do it. There is a stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s, and it is important to work to eradicate that stigma and ensure those with the disease feel supported.
Receiving a dementia diagnosis is difficult. It can leave the individual with feelings of despair, worry, and isolation, and primary caregivers are also often left feeling isolated as a result. Alzheimer’s Awareness Month shines a spotlight on those who are going through — or supporting someone going through — the disease.
What is Alzheimer’s Month for?
This month is all about raising money and awareness for those coping with Alzheimer’s or a dementia diagnosis. People and companies can come together to become more aware of issues surrounding dementia and help those who do live with it.
It’s a day that takes place every year in June, and it’s important that we face this disease for the challenge that it is. Around the world, there are as many as 50 million people living with dementia, and when we collaborate and share experiences, we can help raise money for much-needed research. The Alzheimer’s Association and other dementia organizations are there to work with global partners to research and raise as much awareness as possible.
What can I do during Alzheimer’s Month?
The impact starts close to home. If you know someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, consider spending more time with them this month. So often, individuals experience a sense of isolation, and that’s one respect where we can all make a difference.
On top of that, consider donating either your time to an Alzheimer’s organization near you — many of these are always in need of volunteers to help lead or chaperone activities — or donating funds to support research.
Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s
This month is also a great time to raise awareness of the early signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia, because so many people are still unaware of them.
The initial symptoms of Alzheimer’s are very mild, and can be difficult to spot. The symptoms for one person will look different than the next, but some of the most common ones include:
Memory loss, especially with recently learned information.
Difficulties in recalling events and retaining new information are common for those with early Alzheimer’s disease. The hippocampus is usually affected, and as the disease progresses, memory gets worse and worse. At the early stages, individuals may exhibit general forgetfulness — be on the lookout for this, because it may not be innocuous!
Challenges with planning and problem-solving.
Look out for your loved one missing plans or deadlines, and other things such as having trouble with monthly bills or doing math in general.
Confusion of time and place.
If your loved one occasionally forgets the day of the week or where they’re located, that may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Difficulty with familiar tasks.
Is your loved one having trouble with a recipe they’ve made their whole life? Or cleaning the house as well as they used to. These may also be signs that they might benefit from a consultation with a doctor.
If you do notice some of these signs in your loved one, consider taking them to the doctor for a more thorough check-up. As an initial step, take our 5 Minute Home Care Quiz, which will help you score your loved one’s well-being on 6 different parameters and show you if there are other red flags.