Most of us have at one time or another walked into a room and said “Now what did I come in here for?” When was the last time you misplaced your cell phone or your car keys? While those of us without memory loss can retrace our steps most of the time and figure out where we were last, where we may have laid our keys down or that we left our phone in the car, people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia can’t. There ARE age related changes happening to our bodies but Alzheimer’s is not one of them. How can you know the difference? First ask yourself “Is this something new for me? For someone who has always been a bit scatterbrained, losing the second cell phone in a year may not be a new occurrence. If you’ve never been good at balancing your checkbook, struggling with that task is probably not one of the warning signs. But if you were a crackerjack accountant all your life and now find yourself frustrated over simple math, it may be time to see a doctor.
This month, the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter is launching a campaign to increase awareness for the 10 Warning Signs and the importance of early detection.
Early Detection of Alzheimer’s, the sixth leading cause of death, can make the difference in whether you are in control of decisions made about your life in the months and years to come. Medications are most effective early in the disease. Talking to friends, family and even your community while you still have command of language skills will help dispel myths about the disease and break down long held stigmas. You can also choose to advocate at state and federal levels of government to increase research funding, create quality standards of care and support those who provide care for a loved one at home. And, based on your ability to match criteria in local studies, you can participate in clinical trials. Through clinical trials you may have access to not yet approved treatment medications but you can also feel a sense of accomplishment knowing you contributed to an increased understanding of the disease which may lead to answers for future generations at risk for Alzheimer’s.
Someone you know needs to know this: the 10 Warning Signs. You can help us gain momentum for the campaign by liking us on Facebook, reposting the 10 Warning Signs, sharing this blog, and following us on Twitter. Later this month as we detail each of the 10 Warning Signs in our new blog, we’re also going to hold a photo contest on Facebook. Each photo will illustrate one of the 10 Warning Signs as they were experienced by someone with the disease, a boss who first noticed the symptoms or a loved one who thought there were significant changes occurring long before a diagnosis. We hope you stay tuned and help us share the message that this Main Street disease will impact every one of us unless new treatments and eventually a cure are found.
Linda Mitchell, President & CEO
Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter