November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month (NADAM)
Almost every New Yorker knows someone who has experienced memory loss, or has difficulty performing some tasks that were once routine. These may be early signs of a cognitive impairment and if they are followed by worsening physical symptoms---including impaired judgment, stark behavioral changes, or difficulty walking or speaking---it may be Alzheimer's disease.
According to the New York State Coordinating Council for Services Related to Alzheimer's disease, more than 320,000 New Yorkers have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the most common form of a broader disease called dementia. November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month (NADAM), and throughout November New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen is urging relatives of aging citizens to be aware of changes that may signal the onset of the disease.
"Warning signs of the onset of Alzheimer's Disease include memory loss, challenges in planning or solving problems, difficulty in completing familiar tasks, or confusion with times or places," said Greg Olsen, Acting Director of the New York State Office for the Aging. "This is a very complex and frightening issue for families to come to grips with, but denial is not a good course of action. A good course of action is to be tested so that if it is caught early, strategies to reduce the rate of progression of the disease can be implemented."For a complete list of warning signs and other information about Alzheimer's Disease, visit the Alzheimer's Association web site.
"There are warning signs that everyone with an older relative should be aware of," said Olsen, "because recognizing the onset of Alzheimer's can be the most important component of staying independent for as long as possible."
The impact of Alzheimer's disease is not only felt by the individual, but to the individual's families and friends. Those caring for a loved with dementia benefit from caregiver's services such as support groups, training programs and respite. Caregivers must learn how to take care of themselves to avoid developing their own health problems. The stress of caregiving can lead to an increased risk and incidence of chronic disease, depression, and even death. The economic impact on families can also be devastating. Individuals caring for a person with Alzheimer's can experience dramatic loss of income, increased health care costs, and other changes in lifestyle that can be very difficult to overcome.
Did You Know?
There are many resources on the internet about Alzheimer's. This Top 10 List may be the most comprehensive collection of signs of the early onsetof the disease.