There are at least 44 million people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, including 110,000 in Tennessee. 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 24% 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%) and almost half of Asians (45%) 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.
"Alzheimer's disease is a growing epidemic here in the Mid South. Each one of us is at risk for developing Alzheimer's. It is imperative that each of us become aware of the signs and symptoms, both in ourselves and our loved ones and that we do something now to stem the tide,” said Chapter Executive, Jim Ward. “Join the Alzheimer's Association as we care for and support those with the disease and as we raise much needed funds to find a treatment and a cure."
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 running, cooking and knitting to playing cards.