In 2012, World Alzheimer’s Month was launched in an effort to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as to make a difference in the lives the disease touches. In the four years since the inception of World Alzheimer’s Month, more and more countries have joined in, uniting not only those with dementia or those caring for loved ones with dementia, but also researchers, the media, opinion leaders and medical professionals.
The goal of World Alzheimer’s Month is to provide an opportunity for Alzheimer’s Associations across the globe to gain the recognition and credibility for the great work they do every day, as well as to provide them with a larger platform to influence governments and important decision makers.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, and is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory and cognition. It is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who in 1906 discovered unusual changes in the brain of Auguste Deter, a patient with mental illness he’d been treating. Auguste had symptoms including memory loss, trouble communicating and unpredictable behaviors, all common signs of Alzheimer’s disease today.
In 2015, there were an estimated 46.8 million people worldwide living with dementia, and the number is expected to double over the next 20 years. In fact, around the world, there is one new dementia diagnosis every three seconds, and by the year 2050 there will be 131.5 million people living with dementia.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in the United States alone, more than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, and over 15 million caregivers are providing unpaid care to a loved one with Alzheimer’s. It’s estimated that in 2016, Alzheimer’s disease will have cost the nation $236 billion.
World Alzheimer’s Month 2016: Remember Me
The theme of the 2016 World Alzheimer’s Months is Remember Me. In September, people are encouraged to learn more about the signs of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as what it means to be living with Alzheimer’s and to provide Alzheimer’s care to a loved one. Arming oneself with as much information as possible about the disease can help reduce some of the stigma and misinformation that surrounds it.
It’s important to remember that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process. If you were recently diagnosed, seek support not only from medical professionals, but from family and friends. If you are caring for someone with dementia, remember to attend to your own needs from time to time by seeking respite services. If you aren’t feeling your best, you won’t be able to provide the best care for your loved one. Find a support group as a way to share your experiences with others going through the same thing.
Also starting in September, around the country the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research, will be held in more than 600 communities nationwide. In Indianapolis, the walk will be held on October 15th at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.
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