World Alzheimer’s Month Challenges Dementia Stigma

Receiving a dementia diagnosis can leave a person feeling incredibly alone, and the caregivers of those battling the disease can also feel a sense of isolation. World Alzheimer’s Month in September includes the sharing of stories, walks, the groups, can all help you feel that you are not alone. Let’s shine a light on dementia and showcase how taking the time to talk about it can have a huge positive impact for people affected by it.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior that impede daily functioning. It accounts for nearly 60-80 percent of all dementia cases. Worldwide, dementia is one of the biggest healthcare challenges, with around 50 million people living with the disease. Even with nearly 10 million new cases diagnosed annually, 90% of cases are undiagnosed.

Six point two million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease (with nearly 200,000 in New Jersey), which is why World Alzheimer’s Month is so important. It gives a global awareness to this growing challenge.

The focus of World Alzheimer’s Month is World Alzheimer’s Day which takes place every year on September 21. This day is an opportunity for organizations and individuals alike to demonstrate how we can overcome some of these issues and how we can help people live well with dementia. This year is the 10th anniversary of the global awareness campaign.

This year’s World Alzheimer’s Month will focus on “Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s” and is about the power of knowledge. The effort will shine a light on the warning signs of dementia, encouraging people to seek out additional information, support, and advice. Although the onset of Alzheimer’s cannot be stopped or reversed, an early detection not only improves the quality of life with the disease for as long as possible but helps in planning for the future.

Knowing the signs

Every person is unique and dementia affects every individual differently, and symptoms also vary by type of dementia. With Alzheimer’s being the most common type, here is a list of the 10 most common warning signs of Alzheimer’s dementia:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Problems with language
  • Disorientation to time and place
  • Poor or decreased judgment
  • Problems keeping track of things
  • Misplacing things
  • Changes in mood and behavior
  • Trouble with images and spatial relationships
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities

Some memory impairment is part of the normal aging process.  However, if you feel that these problems are affecting your daily life, or the daily life of a loved one or someone you know, you should talk to your doctor and/or seek out more information from such experts as the National Alzheimer’s Association at https://www.alz.org/

During the month of September, you can do your part in raising awareness in several ways. Open up and share messages on social media. Break the silence. Read about how people affected by dementia are standing up against the challenges of the disease and sharing their stories. Attend events and activities put on by your local Alzheimer’s association. Educate yourself and share your findings. Wear purple. Change your social media profile pictures. No action is too small and anything you can do to help raise awareness can help others.

If you or someone you know is stricken with any type of dementia and needs assistance with daily living, consider Assisting Hands Home Care.  We provide professional and compassionate caregivers who can help with meal preparation, groceries, shopping, and a full list of services for in-home care.

 

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