This June, Show Support for People Living with Dementia
Did you know that June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month? This awareness event is declared each June by the Alzheimer’s Association to help raise awareness about the disease, as well as to show support for the millions of people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. It’s also a time to recognize caregivers for the support they provide to those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association website, “Alzheimer's disease is an epidemic." The facts are startling. Alzheimer's kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's. More than 11 million caregivers provide unpaid care to people with Alzheimer's and other dementias in the United States. 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer's or another dementia. In 2022, caregivers of people living with Alzheimer's and other dementias provided an estimated 18 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at nearly $339.5 billion. In 2023, Alzheimer's and other dementias will cost the United States $345 billion. By 2050, these costs are expected to reach nearly $1 trillion.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?
Dementia is a brain condition that affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. and Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. While the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases with age. Alzheimer’s disease is not considered a “normal” part of aging. Most people living with Alzheimer’s disease are older than 65 years; however, people younger than age 65 can develop Alzheimer’s disease, though it is not common.
One of the first steps toward raising awareness is educating people on important facts concerning the progression of the illness and the number of older adults that it affects around the world. Here are a few essential facts that everyone should know as we head into Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month:
Many older adults living with dementia don't realize they have the disease. Early signs of dementia include problems speaking or finding the right words during conversations, behavioral changes, and difficulty with daily tasks like dressing. However, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, even after these symptoms are recognized by a health professional, only 45% of patients are told by their doctors of their diagnosis. The failure to disclose the diagnosis to patients and their caregivers can prevent seniors from receiving the early treatment they need.
Dementia impacts more people every year. Researchers estimate that around 44 million people worldwide are currently living with dementia. While this is already a high number, researchers project the number increasing to 135 million by 2050.
Alzheimer’s often leads to premature death. You might be surprised to learn that Alzheimer’s is actually the sixth leading cause of death among the U.S. population. As there is currently no cure for dementia, the disease is the only illness in the country’s top 10 causes of death that can’t be prevented or even slowed.
Is It Normal Memory Loss or Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia?
Although everyone’s brain changes as they age, it’s important to understand that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. Memory loss is typically one of the first warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, but occasionally forgetting words or names does not mean a person has Alzheimer’s. There are other signs that someone in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may experience in addition to memory problems. In the early stages of the disease, these signs can include:
Getting lost in familiar places
Having trouble handling money and paying bills
Taking longer to complete normal daily tasks
Displaying poor judgment
Losing things or misplacing them in odd places
Displaying mood and personality changes
When to Consider a Dementia Evaluation
If you're witnessing changes in a loved one, it's important to consult a doctor when memory lapses become frequent enough or sufficiently noticeable. Your doctor can assess your loved one's personal risk factors, evaluate symptoms, eliminate reversible causes of memory loss, and help your loved one obtain appropriate care. Early diagnosis can treat reversible causes of memory loss, or improve the quality of life in Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.
When is the right time to take a loved one for a dementia screening? While there's no hard and fast rule, you might consider having your loved one screened for dementia if they have started to have difficulty with the following:
Remembering new things
Dealing with numbers and logical thinking
Performing familiar activities
Understanding the passage of time
Changes in perception
Changes in vision
Carrying on a conversation
Raise Awareness by Getting Involved
Are you interested in supporting Alzheimer’s education and awareness during Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month? There are many ways to get involved.
Start by “going purple” to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness during the month of June. Changing your Facebook page to purple, or adding a frame to your Facebook profile picture can raise awareness and show your support for the cause; or simply wearing purple are just a few of the ways to get involved.
By sharing a photo on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtags #ENDALZ or #EndAlzheimers. Share your story on social media with those hashtags and you may be featured on The Alzheimer’s Association’s webpage.
Follow the @alzassociation to stay tuned in to all the ways you can take action in June.
Find a complete list of activities here.
Experience the “The Longest Day”
One of the most high-profile events happens on the summer solstice, June 21, 2023. That's when people around the world will participate in a fundraising activity on The Longest Day. On this day, thousands of participants from across the world come together to fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s through an activity of their choice. Together, they use their creativity and passion to raise funds and awareness for the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.
“The Longest Day” signifies the challenging journey for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, family members and friends. Consider hosting a fundraising event or joining an existing event on the day, or to learn more, contact your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to find out about The Longest Day events in your area!
To quote the Alzheimer’s Association’s website: “Together, the strength of our light will outshine the darkness of Alzheimer’s — THE DAY WITH THE MOST LIGHT IS THE DAY WE FIGHT!™
Kimbrough Law is Here To Help
People with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia benefit greatly from Kimbrough Law's integrated approach to elder law. Caregivers benefit just as much. If you need help making sure that a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia gets the right care at the right place at the right time, Kimbrough Law can help. Call our office at 706.850.6910 to schedule a consultation.