Jul 6, 2017 by Glenn Savage
According to the National Institute of Health, Alzheimer's disease is a "progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability to carry out the simplest tasks." It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for nearly 65-75 percent of all dementia cases. The NIH estimates that over 5 million American seniors currently suffer from this disease and that this number is set to triple over the next three decades.
Many people are aware of these basic Alzheimer's disease facts. What they may not be aware of is that Alzheimer's can be treated. Granted, there is not currently a cure for Alzheimer's disease, but the damage to the brain can be slowed with the help of Alzheimer’s and dementia care. In addition to many different Alzheimer's drugs, there are lifestyle choices a senior can make to improve their overall condition. These include daily physical and cognitive exercise, art and music therapy, and frequent socialization.
The reason so many treatments and medications are viewed as mildly effective to downright ineffective is primarily due to the stage at which dementia care begins. The vast majority of Alzheimer's disease is still diagnosed in the end stages of the disease. This means that out of a 10-14 year disease progression, on average, Alzheimer's disease has been damaging the brain without intervention for more than eight years before it is recognized, and it may be another year before treatments are suggested or started.
Thirty years ago, Alzheimer's disease was a relatively new phenomenon. In 1983, President Reagan named November "National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month" to raise awareness of this devastating disorder. While awareness has increased, since the 1980's, the number of seniors with Alzheimer's disease has doubled.
Today, there is an even greater need to spread the word about Alzheimer's disease. November is still National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, but we now also have Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month in June. This is a time to draw attention to Alzheimer's disease and the many other forms of dementia. The hope is that with more awareness and support, dementia and Alzheimer's disease can be identified earlier, treatments can be more effective, and a cure can be developed.
Participating in National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month is as simple as "Going Purple". Dress in purple, change your website to purple, even put purple flags outside your home or business. When people ask about all the purple, take the time to share with them about the warning signs of dementia. Many localities also have races, concerts, and other fundraisers to help support finding a cure for Alzheimer's and dementia.