No matter where you live, Alzheimer’s matters. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the disease is considered a global epidemic with 55 million people in the world living with dementia. And that number is projected to reach 78 million by 2030.
More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, with over 11 million family and friends providing care for those with dementia in the U.S.
June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about the impacts, symptoms and steps you can take to educate yourself and help others.
If you’re not familiar with the impact Alzheimer’s disease can have on individuals and their families, the following provides a brief summary. We’ve also outlined the early signs to watch for:
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior.
Although to date there is still not a cure, early detection may provide relief of symptoms and help maintain a level of independence longer.
Older adults may find it confusing when trying to differentiate between age-typical cognitive changes and dementia. Alzheimer’s awareness includes paying attention to any signs of declining memory or reasoning and having a discussion with your doctor.
1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life vs age-related change
Forgetting recently learned information, asking the same questions repeatedly and forgetting important dates and events can be common signs of Alzheimer’s.
An age-related example might be forgetting a name or appointment but remembering later.
2. Challenges in planning or solving problems vs age-related change
It may become more difficult to develop or follow a plan, work with numbers or maintain concentration.
An age-related example might be making occasional errors when managing finances or bills.
3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks vs age-related change
Alzheimer’s awareness can include noticing daily tasks becoming harder, such as experiencing problems driving to a familiar location or creating a grocery list.
An age-related example might be occasionally needing help with technology settings.
4. Confusion with time or place vs age-related change
Tracking dates, seasons and the passage of time can become more difficult, including individuals forgetting where they are and how they got there.
An age-related example might be becoming confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.
5. Trouble with visual images and spatial relationships vs age-related change
Alzheimer’s awareness might include noticing vision problems, difficulty with balance, reading, judging distance or determining color or contrast.
An age-related example might be developing vision challenges due to cataracts.
6. New problems with words in speaking or writing vs age-related change
Trouble following or joining a conversation can include struggling with vocabulary or being unable to name a familiar object.
An age-related example might be occasionally struggling to find the right word.
7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps vs age-related change
Putting things in unusual places, losing objects and even accusing others of taking them can occur more frequently as the disease progresses.
An age-related example might be misplacing things occasionally but retracing steps to find them.
8. Decreased or poor judgment vs age-related change
A decrease in judgment may be experienced, especially when dealing with money or when it comes to personal grooming.
An age-related example might be making an occasional mistake or bad decision.
9. Withdrawal from work or social activities vs age-related change
If struggling to follow a conversation, a person may begin withdrawing from social activities or no longer keep up with a favorite activity.
An age-related example might be occasionally feeling uninterested in family or social obligations.
10. Changes in mood and personality vs age-related change
Mood and personality changes can occur, including confusion, depression, fear, suspicion and anxiety.
An age-related example might be becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted after developing a specific way of completing a process.
Source: Alzheimer’s Association
There is a wide selection of steps you can take to get involved and bring Alzheimer’s awareness to others. The Alzheimer’s Association is a great place to learn more.
Consider these suggestions to join your voice in fighting this disease during June:
1. Wear purple
Purple is the official color of the Alzheimer’s movement. If purple is not in your color palette, go shopping at the Alzheimer’s Association’s on-line store for T-shirts, vests, socks, tote bags and yard flags.
2. Help turn social media purple
Consider changing your Facebook profile picture to help raise awareness among your friends. You can also share photos on your Instagram or Twitter accounts using the hashtags #ENDALZ or #EndAlzheimers.
3. Don’t forget June 21st
On June 21st, the summer solstice and longest day of the year, join people from across the world in fighting the darkness of Alzheimer’s. Find ideas and tips to create a fundraising activity here.
If your loved one is living with Alzheimer’s, you’re aware of the impact the disease can have on both individuals and their families. For those who have not been personally touched, we invite you to join with all of us as we continue to support the efforts for a cure and discovering new knowledge regarding treatments.
We also invite you to visit one of our Ingleside communities if you’re searching for the right place to live your best life. We believe you’ll enjoy all the benefits that we offer, including:
We’re here to answer any questions that you may have and also invite you to download our complimentary information – Just the Facts: Your Guide to Memory Care.
For information on Ingleside’s Westminster at Lake Ridge senior living community located in Lake Ridge, Virginia, please call (703) 420-7105 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.
For information on Ingleside at King Farm senior living community located in Rockville, Maryland, please call (240) 414-8557 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.
For information on Ingleside at Rock Creek senior living community located in Washington, DC, please call (202) 846-2651 with questions or to schedule a personalized tour today.