Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million people in the United States, with more than 15 million caregivers that provide unpaid support and care. The degenerative brain disease has no cure and is the sixth leading cause of death in the country. Because the disease affects so many lives, it’s important to boost awareness and provide community education during November, which is National Alzheimer’s Disease Month.
Alzheimer’s disease was first identified in 1901 by German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer, although dementia has been associated with old age for thousands of years. Over the past century, the causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not clear, but genetics and poor health play a large part. Plaques and tangles in the brain start to form, destroying brain tissue. Symptoms include loss of memory, diminished cognitive ability and eventually death as the body’s systems shut down. In order to focus resources, both community and medical, awareness campaigns like National Alzheimer’s Disease Month have been launched.
Where can you get more information?
Many national organizations, like the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, launch awareness campaigns in November to raise awareness, show support and educate the community on living with Alzheimer’s disease. Their websites are some of the best around for linking caregivers with support resources, providing the latest news on treatment and research, and launching social media campaigns designed to inform and educate.
Both groups provide lots of information on professional training and education, memory screening sites, and local chapters. Local chapters of Alzheimer’s Association sponsor the Walk To End Alzheimer’s walkathons that help raise funds for research and care. The website makes it easy to find the nearest event, register and start the fundraising. Local chapters for both groups also organize all kinds of fundraisers, education events and support groups for impactful participation.
What is happening locally?
These national organizations also sponsor conferences, gala fundraisers, and other events to bring together different groups that are interested in or conducting Alzheimer’s disease research and raise money for funding and continued advocacy for those affected by the disease. On a local level, many groups also hold events designed to connect people with resources and to raise money to donate to the cause. Clinics, home care agencies, community senior services, senior citizen centers and local chapters of national Alzheimer’s groups are good places for caregivers to start.
What can you do?
Anyone who is dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or caring for someone who has it can benefit from National Alzheimer’s Disease Month. Whether they are in the early stages and don’t know much or have moved to later stages and need to make changes, family caregivers and others can get plenty of information and connect with resources to make the journey easier. They can find out more about community senior services, home care assistance, and family support groups to make their caregiving duties easier.
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are some medicines that can slow down the symptoms. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most costly diseases and it has a significant impact on individuals, families, and communities. That’s why awareness, research, and education are so important when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease.
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