Everyone forgets something at one time or another; however, those living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia related disorders find this behavior frustrating and can often lead to depression. While normal memory loss does not prevent you from performing your day-to-day activities, for those living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia it can.
Today, September 21st is “World Alzheimer’s Day” and Alzheimer organizations around the world concentrate on raising awareness of this devastating disease. The month of September is also known as “World Alzheimer’s Month” and various organizations and individuals will be organizing activities and resources to alert us about this merciless condition throughout the month. The 2021 theme is “Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s.” In addition, to these two awareness occasions, there happens to be many other Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Days recognized worldwide yearly. For instance, the fourth week in May is “Dementia Action Week” in the UK and Australia; the full month of June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month in the US, and during the month of November the US celebrates “National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.”
To date, there is no single definitive diagnostic test that can determine if one has Alzheimer’s disease. There are physical and neurological exams, mental cognitive status tests, and genetic testing that can be performed by medical professionals to pinpoint signs that lead to dementia and/or Alzheimer’s. In fact, there have been some home screening tests marketing to consumers; however, none have been scientifically proven to be accurate. If you experience any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
If you would like to observe “World Alzheimer’s Day” or “World Alzheimer’s Month” wear the color purple, sponsor a guest speaker at your workplace or memory screening event, attend a walk or an organized activity, and/or donate to an Alzheimer’s association or fundraiser. The more you know, the better informed you will be, and the more you can help bring awareness. Here are some facts to get you started…
- Alzheimer’s disease was discovered in 1906.
- Named for Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a neuropathologist who did an autopsy on a brain of someone who experienced memory loss.
- 1 in 9 people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease.
- Women are more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease than men.
- More than half of all individuals with Alzheimer’s do not know they have it.
- Education may decrease your probability of obtaining Alzheimer’s disease.
Check out these resources for more information, or, how you can get involved: