Monday, January 16 , 2017, 11:38 am | Fair 60º

 
 
 
 

Inaugural Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month Initiates Global Conversation About Dementia

There are at least 44 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, including almost a half-million here in California. Despite its soaring prevalence, Alzheimer’s disease is still largely misunderstood.

The inaugural Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness of the Alzheimer’s crisis and educate people on the realities of the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association is asking everyone with a brain to join the purple movement this June and help protect our greatest assets.

Often thought of as minor memory loss, Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease that kills nerve cells and tissue in the brain, affecting an individual’s ability to remember, think and plan. As the disease advances, the brain shrinks dramatically due to cell death. Individuals lose their ability to communicate, recognize family and friends and care for themselves.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, nearly a quarter (24 percent) of people agree with the mistaken belief that Alzheimer’s must run in their family for them to be at risk. When looking at certain ethnic groups, these numbers were even higher. A third of Latinos (33 percent) and almost half of Asians (45 percent) agreed with that incorrect statement. In actuality, everyone with a brain is at risk for Alzheimer’s, a disease that currently has no way to prevent, stop or even slow its progression.

“June is our inaugural Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month,” said Mitchel Sloan, vice president of development and communications. “It gives us a unique opportunity to hold a global conversation about the brain, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Everyone who has a brain is at risk to develop Alzheimer’s, the only leading cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. During the month of June, we’re asking folks around the California Central Coast to wear purple and use their brains to fight Alzheimer’s disease.”

Other ways to join the fight against Alzheimer’s during June include:

» San Luis Obispo — Caregiver Resource Fair at the SLO Senior Center on June 12

» Santa Barbara — The Alzheimer's Association is partnering with the Community Action Commission food program to provide education to 700 seniors through their lunch program. During the senior lunch program at 13 sites countywide, we will share our Know the 10 Signs program.

» On June 21, the Summer Solstice, people around the world will honor the strength, passion and endurance of those facing Alzheimer's with a day of activity. Participants in The Longest Day will complete approximately 16 hours of activity ranging from cycling, singing and knitting to surfing and playing golf. To join or start a team, click here.

» Go purple — Wear purple on Saturday, June 21, the longest day of the year, to support those facing the devastation of Alzheimer’s day in and day out.

» Use your brain to fight Alzheimer’s disease — Become an Alzheimer’s advocate and write your members of Congress to ask for more federal funding for Alzheimer’s research.

» Share the facts — Post and tweet about Alzheimer’s and brain risk throughout the month. If you have a brain, you are at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

» Be social — Turn Facebook purple using an END ALZ graphic as your profile picture.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, how to get involved and purple gear, click here.

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