National Alzheimer’s Month

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November is National Alzheimer’s Month. 

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia.

Alzheimer’s is known as the slow death, because of the way it slowly destroys the person that we know and love.

Did you know that every 66 seconds someone develops the disease?

More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.  That statistic is estimated to triple by 2050. In South Carolina alone, 86,000 people live with Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s organization, Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and more than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Most often the disease is not detected or diagnosed until the end stage of the disease. However, there are drugs that are able to slow the disease if diagnosed early.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Awareness month.  Ironically, he would be diagnosed with the disease almost a decade latter. He wrote his famous goodbye letter to the American people and lived the last decade of his life with the disease.  His mental capacity slowly depreciated until he was barely able to recognize most people.  His wife, Nancy, stayed by his side and cared for him keeping him physically active until a fall slowed down his activity three years before his 2004 death.

Ronald Reagan

President Reagan proved that Alzheimer’s disease does not discriminate and brought the disease into the public consciousness.

So, what can you do to avoid getting Alzheimer’s disease? A few things suggested by the Alzheimer’s organization are to keep the brain active with activities such as reading, writing, word finds, taking classes, learning languages, playing musical instruments, participating in group activities,  and interacting with others. 

If you notice a loved one is having trouble solving problems, remembering familiar tasks, confusion, misplacing items, decrease judgement, withdrawal from previous activities or changes in mood and personality please do not hesitate to make an appointment with their primary physician.

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