Alzheimer’s disease is an international epidemic impacting a growing number of families around the world, including over 120,000 in Tennessee, and threatening the global economy. Yet, it is often misunderstood, preventing people from seeking medical treatment and securing desperately needed support. In honor of World Alzheimer’s Month, the Alzheimer’s Association is unveiling tips created by people living with Alzheimer’s on how to address the stigma surrounding the disease.
The Alzheimer’s Association National Early-Stage Advisory Group, now in its seventh year, is comprised of men and women from across the country who provide their unique insight on the needs of people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Current and former Early-Stage Advisors developed the following tips on how to cope with stigma based on their personal experiences:
- Be open and direct. Engage others in discussions about Alzheimer’s disease and the need for prevention, better treatment and an eventual cure.
- Communicate the facts. Sharing accurate information is key to dispelling misconceptions about the disease. Whether a pamphlet or link to online content, offer information to help people better understand Alzheimer’s disease.
- Seek support and stay connected. It is important to stay engaged in meaningful relationships and activities. Whether family, friends or a support group, a network is critical
- Don’t be discouraged. Denial of the disease by others is not reflection of you. If people think that Alzheimer’s disease is normal aging, see it as an education opportunity.
- Be a part of the solution. Advocate for yourself and millions of others by speaking out and raising awareness.
“Alzheimer’s affects us all, on every level” said Amy French, manager of Programs and Education for the local Alzheimer’s Association. “Wearing purple on Sept. 21 is one seemingly small thing we can all do to help raise awareness, but these small steps are what will get us to our goal of eventually finding a cure”.
- September is World Alzheimer’s Month.
- There are more than 35 million people worldwide living with dementia and more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the only cause of death among the top ten in the U.S. without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression.
- To change the way we look at Alzheimer's, we have to begin to understand the challenges that people with the disease face every day. That includes the stigma that often comes with a diagnosis.
- People living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers may experience stigma if their family and friends withdraw, they find a lack of acceptance in the workplace and from jokes in pop culture.
- For more information about Alzheimer’s and how to overcome stigma, visit alz.org.
- Follow the Alzheimer’s Association @alzassociation and “like” us at facebook.com/Alzheimer’s Association Southeast.
To further support efforts to reduce stigma, the Alzheimer’s Association is leading additional World Alzheimer’s Month awareness activities, including a celebrity charity auction on eBay from Sept. 17-27. Items include:
- A guitar signed by country music legend Glen Campbell, who is living with Alzheimer’s and currently touring.
- A celebrity event experience with Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller, including two tickets to the star-studded “Hilarity for Charity” event in Los Angeles and opportunity to meet event hosts Rogen and Miller and walk the red carpet.
In addition, eBay is providing all customers the chance to donate to the Alzheimer’s Association through its "Give at Checkout" program and supporting a $5,000 Tweet Challenge Match. Beginning on Monday, Sept. 10, @ebaygiving will engage its Twitter audience with a message about World Alzheimer’s Month. For each retweet of that message, eBay will donate a $1 to the Alzheimer’s Association, up to $5,000.
Also during the month of September, the Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging everyone to “Go Purple” in recognition of the more than 35 million people worldwide living with dementia. Visit the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org/WAM to learn ways to “Go Purple,” including:
- Sporting purple on Alzheimer’s Action Day, Friday, Sept. 21Turn Facebook purple using an END ALZ graphic as your profile picture.
- Share your story about overcoming stigma and get inspired by others doing the same.
To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and overcoming stigma, call 800 272-3900 or visit www.alz.org/WAM.