Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth leading cause of death in Vermont. Unlike any of the other top causes of death, such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease or stroke, Alzheimer’s is the only cause in the top ten without any viable health care treatment aimed to prevent, slow, or treat the disease. (Learn more about the prevalence of Alzheimer’s and the cost to our nation by visiting http://www.alz.org/facts/ )
Myth versus Fact
The MYTH is that – Dementia is a normal part of aging.
The FACT is – Our brains age right along with the rest of our bodies, and our abilities naturally change with age. But, this aging process is different from the disease process that accompanies a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is not a part of
Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain that progressively destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, the affected person may experience memory impairment, lapses of judgment, and subtle changes in personality. As the disorder progresses, new areas of the brain are affected. Memory and language problems worsen, as do movement and perception. There may be disorientation and personality changes.
We often hear the terms “Alzheimer’s” and “dementia” used interchangeably. Dementia is a general term used to describe a decline in cognitive functioning. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia accounting for more than 70 percent of dementia diagnoses. Other forms of dementia include Vascular dementia, Lewy Bodies, and Frontotemporal dementia among others. (Learn more about the different types of dementia and the 10 Warning Signs by visiting http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp )
During the month of June, the Alzheimer’s Association asks you to uncover the truth about Alzheimer’s and take action. As we continue to work towards finding a cure, there are things you can begin to do today to help reduce your risk for developing dementia. Growing evidence indicates that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by adopting key lifestyle habits. When possible, combine these habits to achieve maximum benefit for the brain and body. Start now. It’s never too late or too early to incorporate healthy habits.
Ways to become involved:
Support the Alzheimer’s Association during Vermont Gives, a Statewide Giving Day on June 7.
During Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, honor those facing the disease by participating in The Longest Day on June 20. Sign up your own team for The Longest Day.®
Join us Monday, June 20 from 4:00-6:00 for a Rally on Church Street in celebration of all those participating in The Longest Day. Following our purple parade down Church Street, we will hear a proclamation from the Mayor, along with a special dedication in acknowledgement of all those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
Stay informed and educate yourself. In addition to our online tools and resources for caregivers, the Alzheimer’s Association offers in-person support groups and workshops dedicated to helping Vermonters through every stage of the disease. (To learn more about upcoming programs and events taking place in your community visit: https://sites.google.com/a/alz.org/vermont-chapter-calendar/Chapter-Education–Support )
Pamela Beidler MSHCA, is Vermont Director of Programs and Outreach at the Alzheimer’s Association. She is a Certified Dementia Practitioner with a passion for working with our community’s most vulnerable populations and finding ways to empower individuals through health education.