After designating a National Alzheimer’s Disease Week in 1982, President Ronald Reagan helped launch a national campaign against Alzheimer’s disease in 1983. President Reagan called members of the Alzheimer’s Association to the White House for the signing of a proclamation declaring that November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month (NADAM). This year marks NADAM’s 30th anniversary.
President Bill Clinton named the week of Thanksgiving as a time to honor caregivers in 1997, and that has since expanded to National Family Caregivers Month.
The holiday season can be busy with travel and visits from family and friends who might not often see one another. This time together may raise questions about a person’s physical and cognitive health. Although some change in cognitive ability can occur with age, memory problems that impact daily living are not a part of typical aging. Recognizing the difference between typical aging and potentially more serious problems can help identify when it may be time to see a doctor.
An annual trend, over the 2012 holiday season, the Alzheimer’s Association® Helpline saw a 13 percent rise in calls to its 24-hour Helpline, 800-272-3900, as people visited with friends and family whom they may not see as frequently during the year. The Alzheimer’s Association encourages anyone to call the Helpline with a question or doubt about Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
“There remains such a fear of Alzheimer’s, as well as a stigma, and while there remains no cure for Alzheimer’s – there is support for you and your family, and information and understanding. We have new programs for people with Alzheimer’s, too, including the Alzheimer’s Café for anyone, Gather at the Gallery (arts related and outdoor activities) and LIVEWISE for people with Early Stage Alzheimer’s and their caregivers ” said Ruth A. Almen, LMSW, Regional Director, U.P. Region for the Alzheimer’s Association. “There is nothing to be embarrassed about; and when you are afraid and worried about your future, we are here to help you and your family now and in the long run.”
Anyone with questions about Alzheimer’s disease or seeking information should contact the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 toll-free Helpline at 800-272-3900 or visit alz.org®. Experts are available to take calls from individuals concerned with their own cognitive health, as well as from family members and friends concerned about a family member and seeking resources.