June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month. There is a global campaign happening throughout June aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, as well as promoting brain health. Approximately 56 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias; by 2030, this number will increase to about 80 million if a cure is not found. Every 3 seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. One in three seniors dies of Alzheimer's or some related dementia. As you may see these statistics are quite alarming. By 2050, there could be almost 115 million people with this disease. This disease does not just impact those with it but their loved ones who suffer alongside them too.
During Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month, various organizations, advocacy groups, and healthcare professionals work together to educate the public about Alzheimer's disease, its impact on individuals and families, and the importance of brain health. The June campaign aims to reduce the stigma associated with dementia, promote early detection and diagnosis, and raise funds for research efforts that can one day solve this problem via cures.
Throughout the month, there are typically numerous events, activities, and initiatives organized to support the cause. These can include educational seminars, fundraising walks, memory screenings, art exhibits, and community outreach programs. The campaign encourages individuals to get involved by wearing purple—the official color of Alzheimer's awareness—and sharing information on social media to spread the word.
By raising awareness about Alzheimer's disease and brain health, the goal is to empower individuals to take proactive steps to maintain their brain health, support affected individuals and their families, and contribute to ongoing research efforts to find better treatments and eventually a cure for Alzheimer's disease.
While there is currently no reversal or cure for Alzheimer's disease at this time there are some strategies and approaches you may want to implement that can help relieve, or slow down the symptoms and improve the quality of life for those individuals living with Alzheimer's.
Approaches to help with Alzheimer's disease:
a. There are medications available that can help manage symptoms and slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Medications that are often prescribed by healthcare professionals may include cholinesterase inhibitors (such as donepezil, rivastigmine, and galantamine) or memantine.
2. Cognitive Stimulation:
a. Engaging in activities that stimulate the mind can help maintain cognitive function and slow the decline associated with Alzheimer's disease. This can include all types of puzzles, memory games, reading, music therapy, and participating in social activities.
3. Physical Exercise:
a. Regular physical exercise has been proven to have numerous benefits for individuals with Alzheimer's disease. Exercise can improve overall health, increase blood flow to the brain, enhance mood, and help maintain mobility. Activities like walking, swimming, and gentle stretching exercises can be beneficial.
4. Nutritious Diet:
a. A balanced and healthy diet is important for overall well-being, including brain health. Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can support brain function. Some studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes these food groups, may be particularly beneficial for cognitive health.
5. Social Engagement:
a. Staying socially active and connected can help reduce feelings of isolation and promote mental stimulation. Spending time with loved ones, participating in community activities, joining support groups, and engaging in hobbies can provide social interaction and emotional support.
6. Routine and Structure:
a. Establishing a routine and maintaining a structured environment can help individuals with Alzheimer's feel more secure and reduce confusion or agitation. Consistency in daily activities, mealtimes, and sleep schedules can provide a sense of familiarity and stability.
7. Caregiver Support:
a. Alzheimer's not only affects the individual diagnosed; but also their caregivers. Caregivers must remember to seek support and assistance for themselves as well. This may include joining support groups, seeking respite care to take breaks, seeking out a coach, and contacting healthcare professionals for guidance and resources.
This month take an opportunity to learn what you can about Alzheimer's; this is a serious health concern that is only getting worse every day, and as of now, it is not known to be reversed and there aren’t any cures. Therefore, it is imperative for individuals with Alzheimer's and their families to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized plan of care and to ensure appropriate support and treatment options are in place to help with survival. Caregivers support teams or family members must always remember to take care of themselves too, to avoid breaking down in the helping process. If you take one thing from this blog post, understand the fact that Alzheimer’s is a serious disease that can be slowed down, but not reversed; there is no cure in place, only studies to find some solutions. Please take this seriously and go the prevention route before it is too late.
Alzheimer’s Facts & Figures
That is to say, about 3 seconds. As the World Alzheimer Report 2018 puts it, “Blink twice.”