June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness Month, so the Alzheimer’s Association is conducting several initiatives in Massachusetts, specifically.
There are more than 55 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
For this reason, the need to understand and address this devastating condition that runs through us as a society is increasingly imperative.
Purple is the official color of the movement against the disease.
Understanding Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory, thinking and behavior.
It is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for approximately 60-80% of cases.
Alzheimer’s gradually destroys a person’s cognitive abilities, affecting their ability to perform daily tasks.
Ultimately, this leads to total dependence on others for care.
The disease primarily affects older adults, although early-onset Alzheimer’s can also occur in people in their 40s or 50s.
While age and genetics are beyond our control, there are actions that can be taken to reduce the risk or delay the onset of the disease:
- Adopt a brain-healthy lifestyle,
- Include regular physical exercise,
- Incorporate a balanced diet,
- Mental stimulation,
- Quality sleep, among others.
Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: The Global Impact of The Disease
Alzheimer’s disease not only affects individuals and their families, but also poses significant challenges for society as a whole.
As the population ages, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to increase dramatically.
This increases pressure on healthcare systems, caregivers and economies around the world.
According to the World Alzheimer’s Report 2020, the estimated global cost of dementia care in 2020 was approximately $1 trillion, exceeding the GDP of many countries.
This financial burden falls on individuals, families, health systems and governments.
In addition, caregivers, who are usually family members, bear a high emotional, physical and financial cost, affecting their own well-being and quality of life.
Promoting Brain Health
Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month offers a valuable opportunity to educate and engage communities in promoting brain health and awareness.
Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: Brain Health
Refers to the state of optimal functioning and well-being of the brain.
It encompasses various cognitive abilities, including memory, attention, problem solving and emotional regulation.
Factors such as genetics, lifestyle choices, environmental influences and overall physical health contribute to the foundation of brain health:
- Regular physical exercise promotes blood flow to the brain, stimulates the growth of new neurons and improves cognitive function.
- A balanced and nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats provides essential nutrients that support brain health.
- Adequate sleep is crucial and allows the brain to recover and rejuvenate.
- Engaging in intellectually stimulating activities, such as puzzles, reading and learning new skills, helps keep the brain active.
- Social interaction and maintaining strong relationships contribute to cognitive vitality and emotional well-being.
Protecting brain health as we age
As we age, it becomes even more important to prioritize brain health.
Age-related cognitive decline, such as mild cognitive impairment or dementia, can affect cognitive abilities.
Regular health checkups, managing chronic conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, and controlling risk factors such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption are crucial.
Participating in activities that promote social interaction, maintaining a strong support network, and seeking emotional support are vital to overall well-being.
Staying mentally active, pursuing hobbies and intellectual curiosity can help preserve cognitive function.
What the Alzheimer’s Association in Massachusetts does to support the disease
The Alzheimer’s Association plays a crucial role in advocating for policies that support people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.
This through initiatives ranging from increased funding and community involvement to policy changes.
The Alzheimer’s Association actively collaborates with Massachusetts legislators to advocate for policies that benefit people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.
Increased Funding for Alzheimer’s Programs:
They are working to increase funding for Alzheimer’s disease research, care and support programs at the state level.
This due to the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on families.
Early Detection and Diagnosis:
The Association also advocates for policies that promote early detection and diagnosis, ensuring that people receive timely access to appropriate care and support.
Caregiver support programs
Advocate for the implementation of caregiver support programs, respite care services and comprehensive dementia care plans to ease the burden on caregivers and improve their quality of life.
Join the Alzheimer’s Association to advocate for Alzheimer’s disease support at the Massachusetts State Capitol event on June 8.
Register on the Alzheimer’s Association website.
This event serves as a platform to support Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers to come together and advocate for policies that will have a positive impact on their lives.
The idea is also to raise awareness about the challenges faced by people living with the disease and to promote legislative action to address these issues.
By participating, you will have the opportunity to network with like-minded state legislators, policymakers and advocates, sharing your personal experiences and ideas to inspire change.
Your presence at this event will help amplify our collective voice and demonstrate the urgent need for policies that prioritize Alzheimer’s care and support.
Learn more about this and other Association events by visiting the Alzheimer’s Association virtual table.
The information contained on the My Health Fair website should not be construed as professional advice or medical recommendations.
Readers should direct any questions regarding their personal health care to licensed physicians or other appropriate health care professionals.