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World Alzheimer's Day

When I was younger, Alzheimer’s Disease was not a topic I knew a lot about. In fact, it wasn’t until my early twenties that I began to understand it. I’m embarrassed at how naïve I was of the possibilities that it could ever affect someone I know. I never dreamed that it would be my grandmother. September 16th is my grandmother’s heavenly birthday. Despite the fact she suffered from Alzheimer’s, this once vivacious woman lived to the ripe age of one hundred and two. Folks were always amazed once they knew her age. “You’re very blessed to still have her,” became the comment I would receive. While this was all very true, those who made the statements didn’t take into account towards the end we were strangers to her. My grandmother was a social butterfly. Anyone who has watched a loved one deteriorate, would comprehend why this statement was a bit painful. At the same time, I can only imagine how scared and frustrated it was for her not to recognize a living soul.

Once we realized it wasn’t just a case of forgetfulness, we kept a closer eye on her. My family could never pin-point when the dementia started. My parents began to be active in her doctor visits. Dale and I moved into her home to keep an eye on her. At first, things went very smoothly. Then the day came when it was necessary to hire a nurse. Despite all of our best efforts to keep my grandmother in her home, in 2013 my parents made the extremely hard decision to move her into a home. Sometimes, nursing homes don’t always get the credit they deserve. The facility she was in allowed her ample time to socialize. Since her passing in 2015, I’ve continued to raise awareness about the disease. World Alzheimer’s Month occurs yearly by the Alzheimer’s Disease International, (ADI). It spreads throughout September so folks are given time to send donations and volunteer when they can. For those who have schedules that are a bit tighter, they may choose to do something on World Alzheimer’s Day which is September 21st, 2020. “Participants can get campaign materials for their event from ADI, and anyone unable to arrange their own event but keen to take part, can find events run by their National Alzheimer’s Charity and participate in those.” 2020 campaign materials can be downloaded here.

Globally there is thought to be poor understanding and a great deal of stigma surrounding dementia, so the work of World Alzheimer’s Month is vital and is growing and targeting the stigma and lack of understanding and knowledge surrounding Alzheimer’s disease and dementia as well as supporting those suffering with the disease. Dementia is a degenerative brain condition that affects over 50 million people internationally and which robs a person of their memory,competency, comprehension and behavioural awareness, usually slowly, over years, it is a sad condition to live with or to witness in a loved one, there are over 100 forms of dementia, the most common being Alzheimer’s Disease at 50-60% of all dementia cases.

One wonderful fact about the Alzheimer’s logo, is it contains an elephant with a ribbon tied around its trunk! If you are interested in learning more about how you can get involved, click on https://www.worldalzmonth.org for more information. It’s inevitable that we are all going to get older. For some of us, we might forget things we once used to know. By recognizing the signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s, it gives our loved ones a fighting chance. Have you ever known anyone with dementia or Alzheimer’s? Do you know of anyone who has ever volunteer for World Alzheimer’s Day?

Please continue to stay safe! Till next time! Be well!

~ Rachel

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