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November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Memory Center Highlights Warning Signs, Offers Available Resources

If you notice more people wearing purple in November, it’s because November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, according to the National Alzheimer’s Association, and it affects more than 5 million Americans. That number could rise as high as 16 million by 2050.

“So far, the greatest known risk factor of Alzheimer’s is aging. Most people with the disease are 65 and up, however, this is not just a disease of old age,” said Ronald L. Schwartz, MD, CPI, director of Hattiesburg Clinic Memory Center. “About 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have early-onset Alzheimer’s.”

Schwartz said symptoms worsen over time, and it’s important to know the signs and symptoms so treatment can begin as soon as possible.

10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgment
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood and personality

“There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, but new trials and research over the years have continued to advance what we know about this disease and how to treat it to help prolong an individual’s quality of life,” said Schwartz. “Ultimately, the hope is that we will find a cure.”

Fortunately, there is help for people with the disease and their caregivers.

Local Alzheimer’s Resources:

  • Memory Screenings: Memory Center offers free memory screenings throughout the year. The screenings are available to people 45 and older and consist of a 15-minute assessment that evaluates higher brain functions, such as learning, remembering, concentrating, solving problems and making decisions. Screening participants are also offered educational materials about memory and dementia.
  • Research Trials: Clinical trials are available to individuals with Alzheimer’s in an effort to help the individual with new treatments while providing researchers with valuable knowledge in fighting the disease. Learn more about these here.
  • disentangleAD: disentangleAD is a nonprofit that supports the care of Alzheimer’s disease in the Pine Belt region of South Mississippi. The organization provides financial assistance to caregivers for various needs. disentangleAD also raises funds and works to education the community about the disease.
  • Caregiver Conference: A Caregiver Conference will be held Friday, Nov. 10, at Peck House in Hattiesburg, Miss., for both caregivers and professionals who dedicate their lives to caring for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The conference features sessions, panel discussions and educational resources about caring for people with Alzheimer’s.
  • Support Groups: Support groups for individuals and families affected by this disease are available throughout Mississippi. Click here for a directory of these groups.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s or other resources on the topic, visit www.hattiesburgclinic.com/memory-center-resources, or contact Memory Center at 601-579-5016.

Katie Townsend


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