Today is National Alzheimer's Action Day and you can do your part by wearing purple.
The National Alzheimer's Association says more than 35 million people worldwide living with dementia and more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease--the most common form of dementia. That number is expected to nearly triple by midcentury.
This disease is one that's sometimes complicated and hard to gauge. It can overtake a person in a couple months, or slowly progress over a couple of years.
The Alzheimer's unit coordinator at Sunset Home in Quincy says right now they have 43 Alzheimer's patients.
She says it's not only difficult for the patient but difficult for caregivers and families. "That's devastating to families. To walk in and mom or dad doesn't know you or they don't remember where they live or whatever so, it's mentally devastating to families and it's heartbreaking to see the mother that reared you or the father that reared you is totally somebody different now," says Theresa Taylor, the unit coordinator for the Alzheimer's unit at Sunset Home.
Taylor also said a common misconception is that Alzheimer's only hits those in their 60's or 70's, which isn't the case. Taylor says she's seen the disease starting to show in people much younger, even in their 40's.
The Alzheimer's Association says for people to change the way we look at Alzheimer's. People have to begin to understand the challenges that people with the disease face every day. That, along with other factors, is why Alzheimer's Action Day is so important.
Breanna Hill, the walk coordinator in Quincy said, "It's to raise awareness about Alzheimer's Disease and also to focus on the stigma that's still around the disease. A lot of people are still uncomfortable with the disease and all that it entails so this is our chance to come together as a world and promote awareness."
People living with Alzheimer's and their caregivers may experience stigma if their family and friends withdraw, if they find a lack of acceptance in the workplace, and from jokes in pop culture.
Hill urges everyone to talk about Alzheimer's with friends so that those stigmas and misconceptions can be set straight.
For more information you can call the Central Illinois Chapter's Quincy Office at 217-228-1111.
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