- Since 1983, November has been designated National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. In the past thirty-one years, the number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s has grown from about 2,000,000 to more than 5,000,000, and while more and more people are familiar with Alzheimer’s, most know little about the facts behind the disease. November is a great time to help correct misconceptions and to help spread information about this condition.
Those with loved ones suffering from this disease can help to correct common misconceptions. Here are a few prevalent myths about Alzheimer’s:
- Alzheimer’s is just what happens when a person gets old. This is simply not true on at least two counts: one, a surprisingly large number of people contract Alzheimer’s in their 40’s and 50’s, much earlier than is the common perception. More importantly, Alzheimer’s is NOT part of the normal aging process. Yes, memory loss is often a byproduct of senior years, but there is a big difference between memory loss and Alzheimer’s.
- Alzheimer’s can be prevented, so those who get Alzheimer’s have only themselves to blame. Nobody is “at fault” for developing Alzheimer’s. In some cases, genes play a role in its development. While studies suggest that there is some sort of link between diet and exercise and development of Alzheimer’s, the link itself is unclear. Two people can engage in exactly the same lifestyle choices, but one may develop Alzheimer’s and the other may not. Blaming a person for having Alzheimer’s is simply wrong.
- Depression leads to Alzheimer’s. Many people who are depressed develop Alzheimer’s, and vice versa – just because a person is depressed in no way signifies that he or she is more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
- Drugs can cure Alzheimer’s. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s at this time. There are some drugs which are used to help slow down the progression of the disease, but none of these stop the disease or reverse damage that has already been done.
As part of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America will hold a national memory screening on November 18. For more information, click here.
Home Instead Senior Care Live Chat
The Family Caregiver Support Series from Home Instead Senior Care continues to offer regular live chats on issues related to Alzheimer’s and dementia. On November 20, Molly Carpenter will answer questions about Alzheimer’s issues of concern. Learn more here.
Spreading Alzheimer’s awareness can only lead to greater understanding of the disease. Take a few moments to educate others during November.
- November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month (news4jax.com)
- Dept. of Aging Launches Video to Mark National Family Caregivers Month, Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month (gantdaily.com)
- National Memory Screening Day November 18th, Roseville, MN (alzheimersspeaks.wordpress.com)