Over 5 million people in America live with Alzheimer’s disease, and the impact of the disease often extends to family members and friends who want to support and care for their loved ones. June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month, and it is an opportunity to raise awareness for the disease and to support caregivers and research for a cure. Below are some ways to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and some ways that you can get involved this month.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. As the illness progresses to more serious, the symptoms can impact everyday life and make it difficult to get through a normal day.
Alzheimer’s causes brain cells to fail as the brain ages. The first sign of Alzheimer’s usually has to do with difficulty remembering newly learned information. Over time, Alzheimer’s symptoms can include, confusion, major memory loss, mood changes, difficulty speaking and walking, and suspicion of family and friends.
Because Alzheimer’s affects memory and causes confusion, often people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s do not know that there is a problem. Friends and family often recognize the symptoms first. If you believe you or a loved one may have Alzheimer’s you should consult a doctor as soon as possible. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s early on can allow for earlier treatment, which can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and improve quality of life.
Finding a Cure
Doctors are hard at work to find new treatments for Alzheimer’s. As they learn more about the brain, they are better able to understand how Alzheimer’s changes and affects the brain. Continued research is crucial in finding a cure.
How to get involved
- The Longest Day Fundraiser: The Alzheimer’s Association asks people to fund raise on June 20, the day with the most sun light of the year. Participants are encouraged to be creative and have fun with their fundraising.
- Go Purple: Because purple is the official color of the Alzheimer’s movement, people are encouraged to wear purple as a conversation starter, encouraging people to talk with their friends and family and raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and brain health.
- Use Social Media: One of the easiest, and most effective things you can do in this era of social distancing, is to use your social media platforms to raise awareness. This can be done by using a special Alzheimer’s awareness frame on your profile photo, posting a picture of you wearing purple, and using the hashtag, #ENDALZ to join the conversation about Alzheimer’s and brain awareness.