First and foremost… what is Alzheimer’s disease? Is it the same thing as dementia? Actually, Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia. Dementia is a term used to describe a wide range of symptoms that affect the brain. Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, Frontotemporal Dementia, and (unfortunately) other degenerative brain diseases including Alzheimer’s are all forms of dementia — all differentiated by how the disease affects the brain.
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease of the brain and is the most common form of dementia. This disease causes a progressive decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning skills and there is currently no cure. It is estimated that there are almost 6 million elderly people living with the disease in the United States alone and 50 million people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias worldwide.
What can you do to support someone with Alzheimer’s disease?
- Educate yourself – There are common warning signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Some of these include memory loss, difficulty problem solving, confusion, difficulty speaking and writing, and changes in personality and mood. Learning more about this disease and what to expect with a diagnosis can help you be a better support system for a senior impacted by dementia. Alz.org is a good place to start.
- Volunteer – You can make a difference! Find your local chapter to inquire about ways you can volunteer in your community.
- Donate – Whether through an event or an online donation, your support and donation can make an impact on finding a cure.
- Reach Out – It’s important to support one another on this journey. If you’re not sure how to be supportive, reach out. Ask how to help, find ways to serve, offer your assistance with errands or companionship, and share your love. Sometimes all someone needs is a shoulder to lean on.
- Participate – The Walk To End Alzheimer’s, The Longest Day, RIVALZ, and Ride To End ALZ are yearly events to raise funds and awareness to fight Alzheimer’s disease. Start or join a team in your community!
Find local resources:
Find local support options and professionals near you.
- The Alzheimer’s Association – Find information on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia symptoms, diagnosis, stages, treatment, care, and support resources.
- Area Agencies on Aging – Find listings for resources in your community that provides information and assistance for older adults and caregivers.
It can be difficult to know exactly what to do to support someone with Alzheimer’s. However, with knowledge, good communication, and a willingness to support others dealing with this challenging disease, you can find multiple ways to help.