(Purple is the official color for Alzheimer's movement)
June is Alzheimer's Awareness Month. Alzheimer's is thought to be an "old person's disease." In reality, in can strike quite young. Over the last year, I have been following a facebook page that belongs to a classmate's daughter. The classmate was diagnosed in her late 50's with Alzheimer's.
This shocking news led me to www.ALZ.org. There is no doubt this is a scary disease, as there is nothing that can prevent it, no BIG signs that it is there, no cure in site. There is, however, hope for the future as research progresses and the search for drugs to slow the process races on.
A few statistics: Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death in the USA, with over 5.7 million American's living with Alzheimer's. Almost 2/3 of those are women. Caregiver cost is estimated to be $232 Billion per year.
There are things to watch for, in particular, memory loss, especially something new that was learned. There are things that mimic Alzheimer's, which are normal with age progression. So don't let those misplaced car keys upset you! Look for ongoing memory issues. It may be something as simple as not remembering how to make something that is a routine item. Or forgetting to bathe. Once you or a loved one notices changes, it is time to visit your healthcare provider for discussion. Don't put this off, as there are prescriptions which may help delay the progression.
My classmate has changed, her life has changed. I have found her daughter's writings to be heartfelt, painful, grateful, inspiring. My classmate had to give up her home to live in a care facility near her daughter. The daughter visits daily, and never knows what to expect. She may be happy or sad, upset or ready for an outing.
I encourage each of you to learn about Alzheimer's this month, and help make a difference in the future of Alzheimer's!