file photo by Boyd Loving Ridgewood PD in search for Alzheimer patient
the staff of the Ridgewood bog
Ridgewood NJ, June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, and the Alzheimer’s Association together with advocates in the early stages of the disease are encouraging families to talk about memory and cognition concerns sooner. These advocates know first-hand that an early diagnosis offers many benefits, including access to more effective medical and lifestyle interventions and the ability to take an active role in planning with family members for the future.
“Denial and rationalization are common responses to the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s ─ it was a part of my experience,” said Darrell Foss, a member of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Early-Stage Advisory Group, which is composed of people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. “Too often, people experiencing symptoms, or family members seeing them, wait to speak up, even when they know something is wrong. It can be scary, but that is why I’m sharing my personal experience ─ to illustrate why talking about Alzheimer’s concerns early is so important.”
To help people understand early symptoms of Alzheimer’s or behaviors that merit discussion, the Alzheimer’s Association offers 10 Warning Signs. Should these signs appear, it is important to talk about them with the person experiencing symptoms and encourage them to speak with a medical professional.
“Unfortunately, people often avoid conversations due to denial, fear, anxiety, lack of awareness and difficulty having hard conversations about health issues, particularly with Alzheimer’s or other dementias due to stigma and perceptions associated with the disease,” said Ruth Drew, Director of Family and Information Services for the Alzheimer’s Association.
New findings from an Alzheimer’s Association survey found a majority of Americans would be concerned about offending a family member (76 percent), or ruining their relationship (69 percent), if they were to approach that person about observed signs of Alzheimer’s. More alarming, 38 percent said they would wait until a family member’s Alzheimer’s symptoms worsened before approaching them with concerns. Additionally, nearly 1 in 3 Americans (29 percent) would not say anything to a family member despite their concerns.
June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month and June 21st is The Longest Day, a day focused on raising awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, which affects 5.7 million Americans.
It is estimated that by 2050, nearly 14 million Americans will be living with Alzheimer’s disease.
However, an early Alzheimer’s diagnosis can offer access to more effective medical and lifestyle interventions and the ability to help families plan for the future.
An early diagnosis also means spending time with family and friends before the disease progresses.
On The Longest Day, take the time to review the Alzheimer’s Association’s 6 Tips for Approaching Alzheimer’s to talk to a friend or loved one that may be showing symptoms.
The 6 Tips include:
Have the conversation as early as possible
Think about who’s best suited to initiate the conversation
Practice conversation starters
Offer your support and companionship
Anticipate gaps in self-awareness
Recognize the conversation may not go as planned
New findings from the Alzheimer’s Association show that 76-percent of Americans expressed concern about offending family members by raising the issue.
Also, 69-percent feared it would ruin their relationship with the person.
On The Longest Day, don’t be one of 38-percent of people who said they would wait until a family member’s Alzheimer’s symptoms worsened.
To learn more about Alzheimer’s symptoms and resources available for patients and caregivers, visit alz.org.