June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Around 50 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. It is important to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia in older adults because the signs are commonly overlooked until abilities decline since they are similar to other age-related symptoms. Below are some facts about Alzheimer’s disease and what signs to look for:
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s, a degenerative neural disease, is the most common type of dementia that causes damaged connections between neurons and kills brain cells. The disease influences cognitive ability, such as memory loss, resulting in the inability to complete daily tasks. Alzheimer’s starts mildly but progressively worsens. There is no exact cause, but some risk factors may be head injuries, family history, and chronic diseases such as hypertension.
Are there Signs and Symptoms?
Some of the signs you or a loved one may have Alzheimer’s disease are often mistaken for natural signs of aging. Memory loss, cognitive problems, and behavioral changes are often the common symptoms of the disease. Among these signs are forgetting names of family members or friends, where items are located, or past conversations and repeating questions. Another sign is a change in personality or moods and disinterest in regular activities.
How can I support someone with Alzheimer’s Disease?
It is important to accept where your loved one is on the spectrum of the disease. There will be good days and bad. Try not to correct them or take their behavior personally and set your loved one up for success by keeping things simple and creating a daily routine to promote independence. Focus on your body language to help communicate, such as using touch, eye contact, smiling and hand gestures.
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are ways you can advocate for awareness of this disease. Anyone can sign up at the Alzheimer’s Association website to join their network of Alzheimer’s advocates. Advocates receive regular emails with ways to help influence national policy and create widespread awareness—everything from joining support groups to writing letters to congress to serving on advisory boards.
If you or your loved one are in need of help or resources, please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to answer your questions.