In 1983, President Reagan declared November Alzheimer’s Awareness Month for the purpose of bringing attention to current research, treatment, and symptoms. Since there is no current cure for Alzheimer’s disease, awareness and research is more important than ever. If you’ve been considering how you can get involved, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are four great ways older adults can participate in Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
#1 - Thank a Caregiver
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease is no easy task. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are more than 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in the United States alone. Showing your thanks to caregivers is a great way to recognize the important role they play in the fight against Alzheimer’s. You can even leave a personal tribute on the Alzheimer’s Association’s website.
#2 - Know the Difference
Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia are often used interchangeably, though the two are not the same. Dementia is not a disease but rather a blanket term used to describe a general decline in cognitive ability. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia and makes up between 60 to 80 percent of dementia patients. The progressive and severe nature of Alzheimer’s sets it apart from dementia.
#3 - Learn the Facts
Arming yourself with facts is one great way to help promote awareness. For instance, did you know more than five million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s? Close to 500,000 people die because they have Alzheimer’s each year, making it the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women, and the risk for a woman developing Alzheimer’s is actually significantly higher than her risk of developing breast cancer (1:6 in comparison to 1:11).
#4 - Exercise Your Brain
Though there is not a cure for Alzheimer’s (yet!), some research suggests keeping your brain sharp and healthy can help prevent or delay symptoms. Take up a new and challenging hobby, learn a new language, or play brain games. You might even consider making brain exercise a social activity—get a group together for a cognitive themed game night.
Leave a comment below to tell us how you plan to get involved in Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. And for more ideas on how to keep your brain healthy as you get older, download our new eBook here.