Initially declared by President Ronald Regan in 1983 and actively promoted by the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month” is celebrated each June to help raise awareness about the disease, show support for the millions of people worldwide living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, and recognize caregivers taking care of people living with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The Los Angeles elder law attorneys at Collins Law Group encourage you to participate in Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month this year.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Most people associate Alzheimer’s disease with dementia and the loss of memory. While those are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, the disease is considerably more complicated than that. According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, deterioration of thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes. These neurons, which produce the brain chemical, or neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, break connections with other nerve cells and ultimately die. For example, short-term memory fails when Alzheimer’s disease first destroys nerve cells in the hippocampus, and language skills and judgment decline when neurons die in the cerebral cortex. Unlike many other diseases, such as AIDS, experts do not believe Alzheimer’s has a single cause. Instead, they believe the disease is multi-faceted with several factors influencing the development of the disease. Scientists are currently focusing on amyloid and tau proteins, whose malformation are classic characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease; however, other factors likely help determine who develops the disease, including vascular health, inflammation, lifestyle, and possibly even viral causes.
How to Take Part in Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month
Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia. Currently, almost 50 million people are living with the disease worldwide and that number is expected to reach 132 million by 2050. You may never suffer from Alzheimer’s but there is a very good chance that someone you care about will. Getting involved now allows you to learn more about the disease and what you can do to support someone suffering from the disease and help find a cure. Some ways to participate include:
- Donate time or money. Donating money helps continue to fight to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. You can also donate your time by volunteering at charitable organizations related to Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Attend a seminar. Numerous organizations hold public events and seminars to spread awareness about Alzheimer’s. Take part in them and find out more about the diseases and how you can contribute to the fight. Our upcoming webinar is another excellent option.
- Wear purple! Purple is the color that signifies the fight against Alzheimer’s. Wear purple, decorate the office purple, and change your online theme to purple during the month of June. Share an image of you wearing purple on social media to show your solidarity in the fight against Alzheimer’s using the hashtag #EndAlz and #AlzheimersAndBrainAwarenessMonth.
- Educate yourself. Learn more about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia by visiting the Alzheimer’s Association website and other similar websites.
- Get a checkup. If you are over the age of 50 and have not had a checkup in the last year, schedule one this June. Talk to your doctor about Alzheimer’s and dementia and get screened for early signs of the disease. The earlier you get diagnosed with dementia, the better your chances are of keeping the symptoms at bay for a longer period of time.
Contact a Los Angles Estate Planning Lawyer
For more information, please register for our FREE upcoming webinar. If you have additional questions or concerns about Alzheimer’s, caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, or other elder law issues, be sure to consult with an experienced Los Angeles elder law attorney. Contact the Collins Law Firm by calling (310) 677-9787 to register for one of our FREE estate planning workshops.