November is the time to honor and show our support for the people in our lives who suffer from the form of dementia called Alzheimer’s. This month is a great time to make a point to the people suffering from Alzheimer’s, as well as their caregivers, that they are not alone and they have people in their corner. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and a very complex neurological disease. It can take a peaceful home and turn it into a very hard place to live because of the stress that it puts on sufferers and their families.
Alzheimer’s affects an estimated 5.1 million Americans directly. Another 10 million Americans are caregivers to people with Alzheimer’s which indirectly affects them as well. No one really knows what causes Alzheimer’s even though there has been extensive testing and research. However, what we do know is that early onset Alzheimer’s is usually the result of a genetic abnormality whereas late onset Alzheimer’s is due to a complex series of changes in the brain that occur over decades. Alzheimer’s was discovered in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer after he noticed a change in the brain tissue of a woman who died of an unusual mental illness. There are a number of complications that can come as a result of Alzheimer’s such as heart attacks, thromboembolisms, Kidney failure, strokes, or lung infections as a result of aspirating food. Besides these, most Alzheimer’s patients pass away from multi-organ failure.
A great way to get involved in Alzheimer’s Awareness month is to show your support by sporting a purple ribbon or wearing the color purple. It shows that you are thinking of the families and people affected by Alzheimer’s and shows that you are on their side! As well as showing your support, this month is a great time for seniors and their caregivers to learn more about this disease and become more educated about the warning signs and coping mechanisms for Alzheimer’s. People with Alzheimer’s have a heavy load to carry, but our support can make it a little easier to bear.