In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in November shines a spotlight on the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for this disease that affects nearly 5.4 million Americans, and the number is growing.
While the entire month is dedicated to raising awareness about the disease, it also focuses on increasing support for caregivers and sharing available resources.
If you think it only affects seniors, you’d be wrong. Early onset Alzheimer’s targets those under the age of 65. Over time, the disease becomes debilitating because of its progressive nature. Available treatments slow the progression, but there is no cure.
Caregivers provide 24-hour care in most circumstances. As the disease progresses, the stress becomes overwhelming. Often, they receive respite from visitors but many become isolated as time passes. A broad spectrum of resources from support groups to memory care and educational tools provides caregivers assistance.
Continuing research requires support and early screening programs. As we increase our knowledge of the disease and improve treatments, early intervention will improve outcomes.
Project Lifesaver is the premier search and rescue program operated internationally by public safety agencies, and is strategically designed for “at risk” individuals who are prone to the life threatening behavior of wandering. The primary mission of Project Lifesaver is to provide timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children with the propensity to wander due to a cognitive condition.
The Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office proudly offers services via Project Lifesaver here in our community. For more information on how you can get a loved one involved in the program, please contact Corporal Jerry Mann at (828) 884-3168.