Alzheimer's Awareness Helpful for Tri-City Residents

By: Erin Myers Email
By: Erin Myers Email

November is Alzheimer's awareness month and Alexandra Dillon with the Alzheimer's Association says now is the time to start addressing a disease that has been surrounded by stigma.

"People don't want other people to know that they're losing some of their cognitive abilities and skills. So there's a lot of denial, a lot of covering up and it's very difficult to process," said Dillon.

Dillon says many people feel like they're the only one experiencing the disease, but according to data, that is far from the truth.

"When we start to look at numbers... Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death for people of all ages in the United States. Age is the greatest risk factor and we have a baby boomer population that is aging. By the age of 85, 1 in 2 people have Alzheimer's Disease. So people aren't alone. They're just not communicating," said Dillon.

That communication is something Carolyn Rasmussen was looking for. She cares for an aging parent and was looking for answers at a recent meeting offered at YWCA in Grand Island.

"For me, it was the difficulty of knowing that perhaps we are heading down that road," said Rasmussen.

She says the resources offered by Dillon were helpful in differentiating between normal aging and possible warning signs.

The Alzheimer's Association has a list of ten warning signs that could be indicators of the disease. Alexandra Dillon says it's important to remember that your memory naturally goes through changes as we get older, but memory loss that affects daily functioning is not a typical part of aging.

Rasmussen says the best thing to do as a caregiver is get educated and know that resources are available.

"I think we all need to be aware of it because as the world grows and the population grows, there's going to be more and more people diagnosed with Alzheimer's and we need to know the resources and where to go," said Rasmussen.

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