Did you know that June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month in the United States? Caregivers in San Diego probably do, because about 84,000 of the nearly 6 million people in America today with Alzheimer’s live here. By 2050, experts predict that 14 million Americans and 135 million people around the world will have this disease. That’s why the Alzheimer’s Association devotes June to raising awareness, raising research funds, and raising the profile of the patients and caregivers on the front lines.
Every 67 seconds, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. That’s nearly 500,000 new cases in 2019 alone. Family, friends, caregivers and home care companions for Alzheimer’s patients can all do something to promote a cure this month. The Alzheimer’s Association has made a list of several ways to take action:
- Participate in ‘The Longest Day.’
- Per the Alzheimer’s Association’s website, “The Longest Day is the day with the most light — the summer solstice. On June 21, thousands of participants from across the world come together to fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s through an activity of their choice. Together, they use their creativity and passion to raise funds and awareness for the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association.” Fundraise by choosing an activity like playing cards, going bowling, or throwing a party and inviting friends to join you.
- Share your family’s story.
- The Alzheimer’s Association invites you to “Be part of our gallery by sharing a photo on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtags #ENDALZ or #EndAlzheimers. Follow us at @alzassociation to stay tuned in to all the ways you can take action in June.” Share with your social network to multiply your impact. Your properly hashtagged photo will show up on the Alzheimer’s Association website gallery!
- Change your Facebook profile photo for the month of June.
- Go to com/actionalz, scroll down to the May 31st post, and try the Alzheimer’s Association profile photo frame. It will add “I go purple to EndAlz” to your profile photo.
- Wear purple.
- Shop for all kinds of Alzheimer’s Association merchandise in their signature purple so you’re helping them fundraise and promoting awareness at the same time.
Speaking of raising funds for research, scientists announced big progress in the search for a cure last month. Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers in home care in San Diego can find hope and actionable information in some of these advancements. Here are just a handful of the studies and results announced in May on the ScienceDaily.com website:
- “Regular crosswords and number puzzles linked to sharper brain in later life.”
- Good news if you like crosswords and Sudoku! A study from the University of Exeter this month shows that “Older adults who regularly take part in word and number puzzles have sharper brains, according to the largest online study to date. From their results, researchers calculate that people who engage in word puzzles have brain function equivalent to ten years younger than their age, on tests assessing grammatical reasoning and eight years younger than their age on tests measuring short term memory.” If you’re a live in caregiver in San Diego, getting your client hooked on puzzles could pay off for them.
- “High LDL linked to early-onset Alzheimer’s.”
- If you’re already watching your cholesterol levels, then you’re on the right track. “Researchers with the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Emory University have found a link between high LDL cholesterol levels and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease… About 10% of all Alzheimer’s cases are early-onset. Past research has shown that the condition is largely genetics-based, meaning it is likely to be inherited if a parent has it.” The gene implicated in early-onset Alzheimer’s has been shown to elevate levels of circulating cholesterol in the blood.
- “Road to cell death mapped in the Alzheimer’s brain.”
- Scientists at the Van Andel Research Institute have made a discovery that reconciles and unifies three theories on the origins of Alzheimer’s disease. They “have identified a new mechanism that accelerates aging in the brain and gives rise to the most devastating biological features of Alzheimer’s disease. The findings … explain how healthy cells become sick and gives scientists new avenues for screening compounds designed to slow or stop disease progression, something existing medications cannot do.”
And if you’d like to get involved locally, Alzheimer’s San Diego offers classes, workshops, social activities and outings, support groups, memory screenings and more. Their next big event is the Rides4Alz, a motorcycle ride to benefit Alzheimer’s San Diego, on Sunday, July 21st at 9 AM.
Seniors and caregivers receiving and providing San Diego home care for Alzheimer’s disease can feel optimistic about the state of research, awareness and fundraising today.