It seems that every month we’re asked to don ribbons in colors of pink, red, green, blue, or yellow to bring awareness to a different and deadly disease. This past month, the color has been purple and the disease has been Alzheimer’s**.
How can you possibly care about one more disease? It’s only natural to choose the disease that has affected you or someone you love personally. Dementia is very personal to me.
I realize you may not feel the same way about it. However, according to all I’ve learned this month, there is a good chance dementia will become personal to you.
Here’s why you should care enough to join the fight to end Alzheimer’s and other dementias:
- By 2050, experts predict that 50% of all Baby Boomers (13-14 million people) will have Alzheimer’s. The youngest of the Baby Boomers will be 85 at that time.
- 2 out of 3 people who suffer with this disease are women.
- Out of the 10 most common causes of death globally, Alzheimer’s is the Only One without a cure.
- There is a 0% survival rate. No known survivors.
- Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in America, more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
- Alzheimer’s receives only 6% of the funding that cancer receives.
- Every 66 seconds, someone new develops Alzheimer’s.
- Since the year 2000, deaths from heart disease have decreased 7.3%, while deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 145%.
Alzheimer’s doesn’t begin when someone starts to have memory problems. It begins decades earlier.
People often think of memory loss as the main symptom of dementia. That’s only the one that appears above the surface, the one most of us see. The graphic below shows other symptoms that are often unseen by all but those closest. These symptoms are frightening for the person suffering from dementia and frightening for the one caring for him or her. My father had every symptom listed, with the exception of seizures.
Dementia is a hideous, dehumanizing disease. If you know someone who suffers from it or has suffered, you understand. If you don’t yet, you will. And there’s a good chance that person will be you.
I’m fighting for a cure in memory of my father, Wesley, who succumbed to vascular dementia in January.
I’m fighting in honor of my mother, Patti, who is currently battling hard against Mild Cognitive Impairment, which often leads to Alzheimer’s. Every night, she lies in bed and recites “KurtTarynKurtTarynKurtTaryn” so she won’t forget the names of her two children.
I’m fighting for a cure in hopes I will not become one more statistic.
Please join the fight, in any way you can.
Bring awareness to the need for a cure.
Give money for a cure.
Pray for a cure.
Love someone who has dementia.
“Dementia doesn’t rob someone of their dignity. It’s our reaction to them that does.”
Teepa Snow, host of the Dementia Care Partner podcast
(** Alzheimer’s is just one of many dementias. Roughly 70% of people with dementia have Alzheimer’s. When you read the statistics above about Alzheimer’s, realize the numbers are magnified 30% when you think ALL dementias: vascular, Lewy body, fronto-temporal, mixed dementia, etc.)