Celebrating Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Celebrating Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Did you know November is National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Awareness Month? This month is extremely important, as a 2016 study showed that over 5.5 million Americans of all ages are living with this debilitating disease, and someone develops it every 66 seconds. Alzheimer’s is also the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, killing more people than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Alzheimer’s does not just affect those with the disease as it is estimated that over 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia which equates to an estimated 18.2 billion hours of care valued at over 2.3 billion dollars. The costs of health care and long-term care for individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementia’s are substantial, and dementia is one of the costliest conditions to society. Total payments in 2017 for all individuals with Alzheimer’s or other dementia’s are estimated at $259 billion yearly. Despite these starting statistics, however, there are still quite a number of misconceptions surrounding Alzheimer’s.   Here are some commonly held beliefs: Dementia is a normal part of aging. This is partially true, as many of us find that our memory isn’t what it once was as we age. But, it’s important to distinguish between a normal aging and true memory loss. As Galvin, a neurology and psychiatry professor at New York University’s Langone Medical Center says, “It may take you longer to remember where you put something or a name, but you’re able to get back to it. That’s not memory loss, that’s aging. If you’re forgetting important things like loved ones’ names or if it impacts...