World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month occurs each September. It seeks to help fight the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s disease, as well as educate others about this debilitating form of dementia. The theme for World Alzheimer's Month 2016 is Remember Me, to encourage people around the world to learn to spot the signs of dementia, but also not to forget about loved ones who are living with dementia, or those who may have passed away.
Alzheimer’s is not a normal result of aging, but is a progressive and fatal disease that is expected to affect 7.7 million people in the U.S. by 2030 and 131.5 million people worldwide by 2050. At Hupy and Abraham, we would like to emphasize the impact that these types of diseases can have on our community, and why raising awareness is so important.
Why It’s Important to Recognize the Signs of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
When individuals don’t recognize the signs of dementia, or take steps to address the disease, it can affect many facets of life. For example, when a driver with dementia or Alzheimer's fails to realize they are no longer fit to drive, they can inadvertently cause car accidents that may hurt themselves or others.
Research has also linked moderate and severe traumatic brain injury to a greater risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other types of dementia years after the original head injury. Without this information, many people may fail to recognize their risk for dementia and lack the ability to seek proper treatment at the time it would be most beneficial.
Another factor that makes identifying dementia a priority is the quality of treatment that elderly residents in long-term care facilities receive. When residents have, or develop, dementia in these care settings, they sometimes experience neglect or abuse. Some residents deemed “difficult” can be over-administered anti-psychotic medication by staff. If improperly supervised, they may wander and unintentionally hurt themselves or others. Other times, residents with dementia are targeted by abusive aggressors because of their inability to communicate or loss of memory.
Signs of Alzheimer’s or Dementia:
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Losing track of the date or the season
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them