World Alzheimer's Day is observed every year on September 21 to raise awareness about Alzheimer's disease and dementia, as well as challenge the stigma and misinformation that surround these conditions.
Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative brain disease that affects memory, thinking, behaviour, and the ability to perform everyday activities. It is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.
World Alzheimer's Day is an opportunity to educate the public about the impact of Alzheimer's disease on individuals, families, and society as a whole. It also serves as a call to action to support research into its causes, prevention, treatment, and cure.
The theme and focus of World Alzheimer's Day may vary from year to year, the theme for World Alzheimer's Day 2023 is "Never Too Early Never Too Late."
Recognizing the early signs of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia is crucial for timely diagnosis and intervention.
5 important early signs to watch for:
Memory Loss: One of the most common and noticeable signs of Alzheimer's disease is significant memory loss that disrupts daily life. This might manifest as forgetting recently learned information, such as important dates or events, or repeatedly asking for the same information.
Difficulty with Planning and Problem Solving: People with Alzheimer's often have difficulty with tasks that involve planning, organizing, and problem-solving. They may struggle to follow a familiar recipe, keep track of bills, or follow a sequence of steps, such as getting dressed.
Confusion About Time and Place: Individuals with Alzheimer's disease can become disoriented about time and place. They may lose track of dates, seasons, or the passage of time. They may also have trouble recognizing familiar places, even those that should be very familiar to them.
Challenges with Speaking and Writing: Alzheimer's can affect a person's ability to communicate effectively. They may have trouble finding the right words, following or joining conversations, or repeating themselves. Writing may become more difficult, with sentences that don't make sense or contain errors.
Changes in Judgment and Decision-Making: Individuals with Alzheimer's disease may exhibit poor judgment in various aspects of life, such as money management, personal hygiene, or safety. They might make decisions that are uncharacteristic of their previous behavior, putting themselves at risk.