There has been so much going on that you may not know that January is Alzheimers Awareness month.
Covid has taken over as the lead medical concern world wide. However I feel it important to recognize another major health issue that impacts many of us – which is dementia.
I have written extensively about living with dementia primarily from the caregiver/family’s perspective, however the voices of those who have dementia need to be heard as well.
The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada has created an ‘advisory group of people living with dementia’ to ensure that not only are caregivers’ needs addressed but equally critical, that the society’s goals also reflect the need of those who themselves have been diagnosed with dementia.
The Manitoba Alzheimers posted personal stories of individuals diagnosed with dementia.
Just to remind you, Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia and is only one of many diseases that can cause dementia. Dementia is a progressive disease of brain cells that includes symptoms of memory loss, confusion, difficulty with problem solving and thinking and can impact, at end stages even the most basic of functioning levels. It affects one’s ability to live independently and perform everyday tasks, including both instrumental activities of daily living (ie shopping, cooking, banking, using the telephone) and activities of daily living including bathing, eating and toileting. Here’s what we know:
- Many living with dementia can continue to have meaningful relationships and productive lives for many years
- The greatest risk of developing dementia is aging
- Dementia is not a normal part of aging
- 1 in 3 seniors over age 85 will develop a dementia
- 65% of those diagnosed over age 65 are women
- 24 hour care is required at some point along the journey
- There is no cure
The Alzheimers Society has been doing great work in helping to destigmatize the diagnosis and encourage those affected to seek help and speak out. Much work is still to be done. It is a long journey and there are many individuals and families who are struggling to cope with a difficult and nasty disease that impacts the entire family unit. Covid has added an additional level of challenge and fortunately they address this as well.
Please consider getting involved with your local Alzheimers Society by advocating, donating and participating in awareness and educational campaigns.