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November set aside as National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Amanda McCarty, Staff Writer, Videographer

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Not many people understand or have submerged themselves into the world of mental illness. There’s a lack of knowledge, especially when it comes to irreversible mental illnesses.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a disease that causes memory loss. Some think it is a part of growing older, which is why many people go untreated for the disease. Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease of the brain that causes neurons to die over a course of time until the person ultimately passes away from the Alzheimer’s pathology. So, it’s similar to cancer. The older you get the more likely you are to develop cancer, but cancer isn’t a part of normal aging.

The Alzheimer’s Association announced that as of 2017, 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s. One of them was my great aunt who passed earlier this week from the effects of it. My grandfather passed earlier this year from a form of dementia we didn’t identify.

It gives you a different view of the world when you watch a loved one slowly lose themselves until they don’t recognize you and you don’t recognize them. A person with Alzheimer’s isn’t always in control of their own actions. Their behavior changes and you won’t ever see the same person again. It’s painful to watch someone degrade to nothing while they don’t even notice. I’ve seen it happen and it is not easy to watch. You’ll want something to blame, you’ll want to cry, you’ll want to scream, you’ll want to help, but it’s no use against the disease. It is an awful and inevitable ending once diagnosed.

You might think that Alzheimer’s only happens in movies like The Notebook. You would be naive to believe that it is uncommon or couldn’t happen to you or a relative. It is a very real situation.

Alzheimer’s shouldn’t be a death sentence. There are people working day and night to find a cure for it. Currently treatments are available to relieve the symptoms and slow down the process the disease takes. Showing support and raising awareness can go a long way.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “November set aside as National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month”

  1. Jane Woods on November 15th, 2017 9:01 pm

    Great job, Amanda!!! So proud of you and this article. It sure speaks the truth about Alzheimer’s/Dementia. Your grandpa would be very proud of you, too.

    [Reply]

  2. Mark Alan Smith on November 16th, 2017 1:09 pm

    Amanda–This was a very well written article. As a person who dealt with this dread maladie in a loved one I can attest to the fact that this condition isn’t the least bit amusing and is something to keep an eye on–even in ourselves.

    [Reply]

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