The emotional side of witnessing a senior struggle with Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult. It often leaves family members and friends feeling powerless to find ways to offer support. If you find yourself in this situation, one avenue to consider is becoming an advocate in the search for treatment options and, eventually, a cure for Alzheimer’s.
Designated as National Alzheimer’s Month every year, November is an ideal time to join the fight. Here’s what you should know about efforts to battle this disease that affects 5 million people in this country.
Latest Numbers on Alzheimer’s Disease
In a special report on Alzheimer’s disease in 2020, the Alzheimer’s Association released the following updated information:
- Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
- By 2050, the number of adults with Alzheimer’s is expected to reach 14 million.
- Two-thirds of people with the disease are women.
- One in three seniors who dies has Alzheimer’s or some type of dementia.
- 83 percent of the care delivered to seniors with Alzheimer’s in the United States comes from family, friends, or other unpaid caregivers.
- 30 percent of caregivers are age 65 or older.
You can help by lending your support to those advocating on behalf of loved ones with the disease.
5 Ways to Become an Alzheimer’s Advocate
1. Help raise awareness: Beyond the knowledge that Alzheimer’s causes forgetfulness, there is a general lack of awareness about the disease and how it impacts families. You can change that by sharing your personal experience with the disease. Write a “Letter to the Editor” to be published in your community newspaper. Recruit friends to participate in the virtual Walk to End Alzheimer’s fundraiser.
2. Contact state and federal legislators: Grassroots advocacy can impact legislation at both the state and federal levels. You can let your elected officials know how essential it is to fight Alzheimer’s by making phone calls and sending emails. Ask friends to do the same. You can also sign up for Action Alerts. This will allow you to make specific requests of your legislators as issues arise, such as asking for their vote on a funding bill or with health care laws.
3. Investigate clinical trials: Many biopharma companies are working hard for the drug development for Alzheimer’s cure. You might consider participating in a clinical trial or helping your loved one with the disease connect with one. Trials routinely seek people with and without the disease for research purposes.
4. Donate to the cause: If you are able, make a personal donation to an Alzheimer’s organization. Ask friends to do the same for your birthday or in lieu of a holiday gift. The Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America are two groups that fund research, as well as programs for professional and family caregivers.
5. Draw attention: Even small things, such as donning an Alzheimer’s ball cap or wearing a purple ribbon during November, can spark a conversation about the disease. Every one of those talks helps inform the general population about Alzheimer’s and build awareness.
Memory Care at Sunrise Senior Living
If you or someone in your family is feeling overwhelmed by their role as an Alzheimer’s caregiver, or is concerned they aren’t able to provide the quality of life a loved one deserves, it may be time to consider memory care. With communities across the country, Sunrise Senior Living likely has a memory care program nearby. Call (888) 434-4648 today to learn more!