November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
Since Ronald Reagan made the designation in 1983, November has continued as the month known for National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Through the years, the number of people with the disease has grown to more than five million, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, is a type of dementia that leads to memory, thinking and behavior problems. The symptoms of the disease progress over time, which eventually leads to a person no longer being able to accomplish daily tasks. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are treatments that can slow down its regression.
Here are the top tips you should know to become more aware and to help those who may have the disease.
Symptoms To Look For
Like other diseases, it is very important to know the symptoms so you can find the correct help and treatment for those involved. The symptoms include:
- Memory Loss – A person may forget specific events that have happened or things they have learned. They may also ask the same question over and over again.
- Trouble Solving Problems or Planning – It may take someone longer to complete tasks that they used to do much quicker, or they may struggle to follow simple directions.
- Lost Track of Time or Place – A person with Alzheimer’s will often forget how they got where they are and where they are. They will also lose track of time.
- Unable to Retrace Steps – When someone begins to lose track of time and place, they will then begin to misplace items and lose the ability to retrace their steps. They can no longer think back to where they were to find items or remember where they put something.
How to Help Those with Alzheimer’s
There are multiple things you can do to help someone with Alzheimer’s disease, especially if the person is in the early stages of the disease.
- Establish a Daily Routine – Routines are very important in establishing what the person can expect to avoid confusion. People with Alzheimer’s love routines.
- Keep Things Simple – All interaction needs to be very simple, whether that’s saying one thing at a time or presenting only one idea.
- Reassure Safety – Make sure the person feels safe and secure at all times. Tell them often how safe they are with you to keep them at ease.
- Stay Calm – Never let your frustrations boil over into a yelling match or argument. Imagine how the patient feels that can no longer grasp time or place.
Throughout the months of October and November, there are many “memory walks” that take place across the nation to raise money and awareness for the disease. Hattiesburg, Mississippi is hosting its walk on October 26, followed by the walk in Biloxi, MS, on November 9.
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