` Ascend - Understanding Alzheimer's During Brain Awareness Month Ascend | Understanding Alzheimer's During Brain Awareness Month

Understanding Alzheimer's During Brain Awareness Month

Post Date - May 10, 2023

June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month! This is a time to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and support caregivers of those dealing with Alzheimer’s. Ascend wants all our employees to know they are not alone – despite whatever professional or personal journey, you’re on!

What is Alzheimer's

To understand Alzheimer’s, it’s important to know that it is a type of dementia. Dementia is defined as the loss of cognitive functioning, including the ability to think, remember, and reason effectively.

Alzheimer's is the most common dementia diagnosis, and according to researchers at Unicity Health, someone develops the disease every three seconds. While Alzheimer's does affect memory, it is not a normal part of aging. The condition inhibits memory and significantly interrupts cognitive abilities more than “normal” aging. Most people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are over 65 years old. However, if someone is diagnosed before turning 65, it is known as early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s affects memory, cognition, behavior, and physical capabilities. It is categorized as a progressive disease meaning that symptoms worsen with time. Healthcare professionals have defined five stages of the disease: Asymptomatic, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Mild, Moderate, and Severe. Those in the severe stage will require constant help/treatment as their cognitive and physical function declines.

How is it treated?

When a patient enters the later stages of Alzheimer’s, it is not uncommon for loved ones to step into the role of caregiver. Ascend knows that being a caregiver can be an emotionally and physically taxing role, and we’re here to support those putting in dedication daily for their loved ones! Resources like these are available for caregivers to help guide them on their journey as they care for those with Alzheimer's. As the disease progresses, seeking professional medical support for day-to-day care is beneficial for everyone involved.

It’s crucial to receive a formal Alzheimer’s diagnosis so that individuals can get the support they need when the time comes. Not getting a diagnosis also prevents the patient from receiving early-intervention treatments.

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are treatments that can slow the advancement of dementia symptoms and improve the quality of life for both the patient and caregiver. A worldwide effort exists to understand the disease better and create treatments that stop its progression.

What are the symptoms?

It’s important to remember that memory loss does not equal Alzheimer's. Memory loss is a normal part of aging. Concerns arise when memory loss affects daily life or when cognitive/physical capacities dramatically decrease.

When someone begins to feel symptoms of Alzheimer’s, they may not be able to recognize that they are struggling. In most cases, it is easier for a loved one to identify and name the symptoms, which include:

  • Serious memory loss
  • Difficulty completing daily tasks (dressing, hygiene, cleaning, etc.)
  • Confusion/disorientation/repeating questions
  • Mood and behavior changes
  • Impaired judgment
  • Suspicions or paranoia
  • Difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking

If you observe a loved one experiencing several of these symptoms, it is a good idea to seek a dementia evaluation by a healthcare professional.

How can I show support?

To show your support for patients with Alzheimer's and their caregivers, go purple for June! Add a purple frame to your profile pictures on social media, or wear purple out and about to help raise awareness of the disease. For updates on how to stay involved throughout June, follow @alzassociation!