In 1983, President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Just 11 years later, the former President of the United States was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s himself and lived with the disease for a decade before passing away in 2004. Mrs. Reagan, who rarely left his side for more than an hour or two at a time, called her last 10 years with her husband “the long goodbye.”
In 1994, when President Reagan was diagnosed, “Nobody knew what to expect,” recalls a family insider in a March 2016 Newsweek article. “We didn’t know what questions to ask, what to talk about, what the future would be like.” While information is much more available than it was 22 years ago, the stigma and fear that surrounds Alzheimer’s disease keeps many people from being prepared when it strikes and from seeking support when they are faced with providing care for a loved one.
That’s what National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month is all about: raising awareness. Local chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association are committed to helping people understand the facts of the disease, spot the warning signs, and locate care options. And when times get tough (as they will be), staff at these chapters are also there simply to listen and offer support.
“Going purple” for Alzheimer’s is also about raising funds for research. In 2016, Congress committed approximately $1 billion toward Alzheimer’s research, but that is only a fraction of what’s needed! Every year, in more than 600 communities around the country, the Alzheimer’s Association hosts its Walk to End Alzheimer’s® to raise funds for care, support and research. Walks are held throughout the fall. Find your local walk here.
Article by Terri L. Jones. Read more from The Senior’s Guide Online.
You can also get involved with the Alzheimer’s North Carolina, Inc.