Every day, 68 Canadians are diagnosed with dementia. In January, we shine a light on those who have been affected by this disease and what we can do to help make Alzheimer’s disease a thing of the past. How will you acknowledge Alzheimer awareness month?
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disease that directly affects memory and cognitive skills. As this irreversible disorder progresses, diagnosed individuals become increasingly unable to perform even the simplest of daily tasks. As such, care is necessary for those whose illness inhibits the ability to function independently.
Alzheimer’s disease destroys brain tissue with amyloid plaques buildup, neurofibrillary (tangles), and a loss of connection between nerve cells. This damage begins by affecting the part of the brain that creates memories, the hippocampus, and then slowly begins to deteriorate other areas of the brain as well.
Of the different types of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common. As your age increases, you become more susceptible to developing a neurodegenerative disorder, but this is not a normal part of the aging process. Although it primarily affects seniors, early onset Alzheimer’s can claim the wellbeing of people of all ages.
How Can You Help?
We need to remember that dementia isn’t just about the numbers; it’s about the people. There is a great deal of stigma that currently surrounds those living with Alzheimer’s disease It’s up to us to help end the stigma.
There are many different ways you can help those living with Alzheimer’s disease in your local community. Donating to a recognized charity is an excellent way to show your support. Additionally, there are multiple volunteer opportunities at various charities that would be overjoyed to have you volunteer some of your time.
You can also donate your skills to the cause. Are you a graphic designer? Consider offering your services to design promotional materials. Whatever your special skill, there are charities serving those with Alzheimer’s disease that would greatly benefit from your efforts.
If someone you know suffers from dementia, the best thing you can do is be there for them. This is a confusing time for them and what they truly need at this time is a friend and confidant. It could make all the difference in the world to them.
How Can You Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
With the number of people diagnosed with dementia expected to increase drastically in the future, it’s more important than ever for people to take the necessary precautions to prevent its onset. You can take action now to prevent Alzheimer’s disease in the future.
There are six components that can help you reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease:
- regular exercise;
- social engagement;
- healthy diet;
- mental stimulation;
- quality sleep; and
- stress management.
All of these steps can help you keep your body and brain healthy for longer, greatly reducing your risk of developing dementia in your later years. In particular, it is recommended people partake in 150 minutes of exercise each week, including two to three strength training sessions. This will allow your muscles to better pump blood to your brain, keeping your brain active and healthy.