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The Alzheimer’s ‘Cure’ We Can Create Right Now

The Alzheimer’s ‘Cure’ We Can Create Right Now

National Alzheimer’s Awareness month is upon us—a time for nation-wide walks and a landscape of purple-infused paraphernalia.

These efforts to raise money and awareness to combat the country’s sixth leading cause of death are undoubtedly essential; over five million Americans are estimated to be living with Alzheimer’s.

But how much do these efforts really help the individuals in our communities who are living with the disease right now–those staring down the barrel of an unknown future fraught with loss and isolation?

Outside of the actual effects of the disease, one of the most difficult things for people with Alzheimer’s to cope with is the stigma attached to the ailment–a stereotype born of misconception and misunderstanding.

As a nation, our fear of losing our minds and memories outstrips our fear of any other terminal illness, according to a 2012 survey by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion.

We fear becoming the clichéd dementia patient. The prone, vacuous entity who wouldn’t seem out of place in one of the countless post-apocalyptic zombie horror films that have frequented box offices in recent years.

All we know is what we see—the person sitting hunched in a wheelchair, or laying prone on a hospital bed. All we know is what we hear—the incoherent scream of someone in the throes of a hallucination only they can see, or the sinister silence of words stolen away by an unseen force.

We superimpose these personas over every individual with Alzheimer’s, unintentionally reinforcing a crippling stigma that compounds the difficulties facing not only people with the disease, but their friends and family as well.

Changing the view, fashioning a cure

Science knows so little about the biology of Alzheimer’s that doctors cannot definitively diagnose it until after a person has passed away. There’s no treatment that can prevent, halt or slow the progression of the disease, and experts agree that an effective medical intervention is still years away.

We don purple and donate money, but how can we help the men and women living with the disease today?
Not only must they navigate the harsh physical and emotional effects of Alzheimer’s, they must also endure systematic separation from a society that can’t comprehend their situation.

But hope endures—creeping along the edges of the global consciousness—in the form of individual advocates living with the disease. Several of these courageous men and women have shared their experiences as part of a ground-breaking new story, “Fade to Blank: Life Inside Alzheimer’s.”

They’ve offered up their stories in the hope that you will listen, learn and help spread the word about the enduring humanity that exists inside people with Alzheimer’s.

The message that cognitively impaired individuals still have a life to live and much to give to society is the non-medical “cure” that will help both current and future patients and families cope with the disease.

And it’s one we can all be a play a part in creating.

This month, to honor and support those with the disease, take a few minutes to visit FadetoBlank.org and read “Fade to Blank: Life Inside Alzheimer’s.” Share the experience with your family and friends, and be a part of constructing a better future for people with Alzheimer’s.

fadetoblank.org – Fade to Blank: Life Inside Alzheimer’s

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Do Dogs Get Alzheimer’s?

Read more: Alzheimer's, Do Good, Health, Inspiration, Life, Make a Difference, News & Issues, , , ,

: By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

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AgingCare.com

AgingCare.com connects family caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing options for people caring for their elderly parents. AgingCare.com is a trusted resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.

399 comments

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1:30PM PST on Nov 23, 2013

This is a very insightful article opening up some of the myths about Alzheimers.

10:49PM PST on Nov 20, 2013

Citizens need to take action as the diseases like alzheimers, obesity, cancers, ADHD, liver, kidney and pancreas diseases, heart diseases, thyroid, etc. etc. have increased by some 250% over the last 20 years. I'm sure you know that these diseases were rare 20 years ago.

OK, so contemplate which chemical corporations have been ruling your Govt. since then?

8:43PM PST on Nov 17, 2013

Thank you for the insightful article!!

6:30AM PST on Nov 17, 2013

Thanks for the article.

1:51AM PST on Nov 17, 2013

okdoky

2:21AM PST on Nov 14, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

3:53PM PST on Nov 12, 2013

Thank-you for posting this article. I am a RN & from personal & professional experience I feel a bit of clarification is needed. One can have the feared 'dementia' label as stated in the article. However, a person having dementia does not mean they have Alzheimer's. Dementia means there is a decrease in one of the cognitive abilities which includes memory, attention, language, & problem solving. Having an issue with one of these abilities does not automatically mean one has Alzheimer's.

12:57PM PST on Nov 11, 2013

Thanks for the article

7:56AM PST on Nov 11, 2013

Thank you.

12:46AM PST on Nov 11, 2013

Thanks for the possitive feelings :)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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