World Alzheimer’s Month is the international campaign by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) which takes place every September to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia.
World Alzheimer’s Month was launched in 2012 and World Alzheimer’s Day is on 21 September each year.
According to the World Alzheimer’s Month website, 2 out of every 3 people globally believe there is little or no understanding of dementia in their countries. The impact of World Alzheimer’s Month is growing, but the stigmatisation and misinformation that surrounds dementia remains a global problem that requires global action.
Alzheimer’s disease is just one form of dementia, which is the collective name for progressive brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. Dementia is the leading cause of disability and dependency among the elderly. Although each person will experience dementia in their own way, eventually those affected are unable to care for themselves and need help with all aspects of daily life.
There are over 100 forms of dementia but Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50-60% of all cases. Other forms of dementia include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and fronto-temporal dementia. Symptoms may include:
loss of memory
difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying
difficulty in performing previously routine tasks
- personality and mood changes.
There is currently no cure for dementia, but treatment and support are available.
Contrary to common myths, dementia is not a normal part of ageing, so if you suspect you or someone you know may have dementia, then you should speak to a doctor or contact the Alzheimer’s Society.
Treatments for dementia are varied and include:
- Medication that helps with some of the symptoms
- Person-centred care – where are is adapted to the history, interests and personality of the sufferer
- Talking therapies – where the person is encouraged to speak about their thoughts and feelings and how it affects their mood
- Alternative therapies.