September is World Alzheimer's Awareness month. The blog is going to be purple for the month.
Finding a cure or event a preventative approach for Alzheimer's is going to take more research and research requires funding. I believe our best hope is to find a way to prevent it; not cure it once it has started. Until that day comes, there is much we can do to help ease the burden this disease is increasingly having on us all.
Over 5,000,000 Americans have Alzheimer's and that number could triple by 2050. That means today we have approximately 15,000,000 families which have been touched by Alzheimer's. However, how many of us discuss Alzheimer's regularly? It is a common perception that Alzheimer's is something that happens to other families. There is a perception that Alzheimer's patients are not much more than zombies, the walking undead. Even our doctors often have misperceptions or a lack of understanding of the disease.
We can change that.
We have to change that.
Programs like Northwestern University's Buddy Program are designed to help change the experiences doctors-in-training have in connection with Alzheimer's by pairing recently diagnosed patients to serve as mentors to the doctors. We're not all doctors-in-training but we can change the way we discuss the disease with our doctors, friends and family. By discussing it more and with less fear, we can reduce the stigma.
NBC's Age of Alzheimer's Series