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Alzheimer's Awareness Month: Know the Facts

granddaughter and grandma looking away

Every 67 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. It's a whole month dedicated to bring awareness to those living with the disease and those affected by it. This month is also devoted to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. It results in the loss of memory, social skills, and other important mental functions. Unfortunately, there is no cure, but strategies can help seniors with Alzheimer’s disease age in place independently.

In recognition of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, brush up on your knowledge and learn how you can support loved ones with Alzheimer’s.

What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?

  • Forgetfulness: We all sometimes forget where we put our keys or glasses. But if forgetfulness reaches the point to which it disrupts daily life, it can be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. This can include constantly forgetting important dates, holidays, or in later stages—the familiar faces of friends or family.
  • Reduced problem solving skills: Another sign of Alzheimer’s is the reduced ability to plan or solve a problem. This can include activities that someone has been doing for many years, like setting appointments or paying bills. If you see that someone you know is having a harder time concentrating or is taking significantly longer to finish a routine activity, it may be time to seek help.

Who does Alzheimer’s affect?

The risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases in age, more so after the age of 65. Women are comparatively more at risk. And the risk increases if it runs in the family—such as from a parent or sibling. However, seniors are not the only ones who get Alzheimer’s. People under 65 can be diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan dedicated November for Alzheimer’s disease. At that time, less than 2 million people had the disease, now—that number has risen to over 5.4 million. By 2025, this number can reach up to 7.1 million. And in 2050? A projected 13.8 million.

What if I know a senior with Alzheimer’s?

aged hands holding young hands

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 10 people have a family member who has the disease. 1 in 3 people say that they personally know someone with Alzheimer’s. If you know someone with Alzheimer’s, you know that caring for them can be taxing. Here are some tips to help stay compassionate when communicating with seniors with Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Avoid confrontation or arguing. It’s harder for seniors with Alzheimer’s to express emotions and thoughts.  They may unexpectedly become more agitated. But remember that agitation might be a result of an uncomfortable or unfamiliar environment. Stay calm and try to reassure your loved one or redirect that energy by engaging your loved one with another activity. Reduce these reactions by reducing noise and distractions in their home. A loud TV or a poorly-lit environment may trigger stress or fear.
  • Spend time with your loved one. Light physical activity can help reduce stress. Take a walk, garden, or sing and dance together. Fun social activities can reduce agitation, lower risk of wandering, and make it easier for them to sleep at night. Alzheimer’s disease can make it harder to convey thoughts, but it doesn’t hinder your loved one’s ability to be happy, enjoy life, and have fun.
  • Reminisce about the past. Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease might have trouble remembering what they ate for breakfast while perfectly recalling moments from decades ago. Enjoy these memories instead of fighting them. Look through old family photos. Remember the special memories that you and your loved one shared together. You’ll both enjoy spending quality time with each other.

How can a medical alert help with Alzheimer’s?

Home system and button 2

Studies have shown that falls can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. Researchers have found that those with symptoms of Alzheimer’s have almost twice the chance of falling. It is important to get help fast after a fall. Alert1’s medical alert systems bring life-saving help in the event of an emergency. You are sure to find a medical alert that fits your needs:

  • For fall protection at home: Alert1 has a fall detection medical alert that can sense a fall and notify our 24/7 Command Center. If a senior isn’t able to press the button, smart sensors in the medical alert system will send a signal to get help. This is especially helpful for people with Alzheimer’s. As the disease progresses it can impair cognition, which can affect their ability to press the button. The Fall Detection System would provide that extra protection to get them the help they need.
  • For fall protection on the go: Alzheimer’s affects the brain’s memory and ability to think. This may leave some seniors more prone to “wander.” This means they may get lost or disoriented in a place that is familiar to them. Alert1 offers the PAX Mobile Fall Detection to protect seniors no matter where they roam. The life-saving help button uses 911 location technology to send help directly to your loved one in case they wander and don’t know where they are. The PAX mobile alert device uses cellular technology to communicate wirelessly; no need to be tied to a landline. And the kicker—PAX Mobile Fall Detection can automatically sense a fall and immediately notify Alert1’s 24/7 Command Center. PAX Mobile Fall Detection has the advantages of both location-detection technology and fall-detection technology—a saving-grace for someone with Alzheimer’s. Alert1 take care of your loved one 24/7. 

Let’s do this together.

family of 40 on church steps

You can get involved with the race to find a cure. The Alzheimer’s Association throws events to raise funds and spread awareness of the disease. You can take part or volunteer at the “Walk to End Alzheimer’s.” The event raises awareness and funds for research and care for Alzheimer’s patients. Making a small donation or telling others about Alzheimer’s can also make a difference in increasing awareness and finding a cure.

By recognizing National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, we can understand the hardships that come with the disease and how to help those that have it. There are many ways to help manage the illness, including physical activity to reduce stress and a medical alert system for 24/7 protection. Join Alert1 as we raise awareness during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month to support those with Alzheimer’s.