National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

Give Back and Share Knowledge

November is here, which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Although it’s easy to get caught up in fall festivities, it’s important to remember that November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s affects families and communities across the country, with an estimated 6.5 million people currently living with this condition.

While Alzheimer’s is most commonly associated with memory loss, it’s actually a complex, progressive condition that can affect both cognitive and physical abilities. National Alzheimer’s Disease Month helps to build awareness about the full scope of the condition and to educate the public about how to improve the quality of life for those affected.


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Understanding Alzheimer’s

Although our brains go through natural changes as we age, it’s worth recognizing that Alzheimer’s dementia is not a normal form of aging. Talking to a healthcare provider early on can help caregivers plan ahead and understand how the condition may progress.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease tends to progress in three stages:

  • Early Stage: Symptoms can be hard to identify in the beginning. A person may be able to function on their own but may start to show signs of short-term memory loss, such as difficulty remembering material that they just read.

  • Middle Stage: In this stage, individuals may start to lose their ability to make everyday judgments, such as how to find their way home or how to properly dress for the season. At this point, daily caregiving and assistance may be required.

  • Late Stage: As symptoms become more advanced, patients often become unable to hold a conversation or relate to their environment. Their mobility and balance can become severely limited. Round-the-clock care, as well as assistive equipment, may now become necessary.

How to Be a Supportive Caregiver

When caring for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s, there are a number of ways that you can help them feel reassured and comforted. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Whenever possible, try to maintain a consistent daily schedule of activities—such as planning meals at the same time each day. Continuity and structure can help to minimize any confusion or anxiety patients may be feeling.

  • Encourage hobbies that patients find enjoyable and engaging, so that they can focus on activities that are meaningful to them.

  • Integrate their favorite music into the daily routine. Music can help stimulate pleasant memories and allow patients to more easily access their emotions.



 Sharing Knowledge/Building Awareness

While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, research continues towards developing new treatments and methods of care to help diagnosed individuals live life to the fullest. This November, take the opportunity to educate yourself and others on this disease as you reflect on how much your loved ones mean to you. The more you spread awareness about Alzheimer’s, the better advocate you can be for those who are living with it!

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