January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. At least 25,000 Canadians are diagnosed with dementia annually. Dementia is an umbrella term that encompasses a set of symptoms that are caused by a disorder that affects the brain. Alzheimer’s falls under this umbrella, and is a degenerative brain disease in which brain cells either shrink or disappear as they are replaced by plaques (irregularly shaped spots). As Alzheimer’s progresses, certain functions are lost, leading to specific symptoms and changes in one’s behaviour.
Alzheimer’s disease takes on two forms: the first and most common is Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease and accounts for 90-95% of all cases. The second, less common, is Familial Autosomal Dominant Alzheimer’s disease and is passed down from one generation to the next and accounts for 5-10% of known cases.
This year their Alzheimer’s Awareness campaign is focusing on the ways in which dementia is present all around us. Their slogan, “It’s not just their disease. It’s ours too” emphasizes this, encouraging families and communities to act and to provide support not only for those with Alzheimer’s, but for their families as well. There are a number of moving testimonials on the Alzheimer’s Society of Manitoba’s website, as well as resources for those living with dementia, and for their families.
In support of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month canvassers will be out and about collecting donations. The proceeds collected provide support for programs and services for those who may be affected by dementia and to help search for a cure. You can also donate by texting DOOR to 45678 to donate $10, or you may visit their website http://www.alzheimer.mb.ca/initforalz/ and click the DONATE button. As students, we do not necessarily have the funds to provide a monetary donation, and there are many opportunities for you to donate your time. If you are interested in volunteering, canvassing, or hosting an event with the Alzheimer’s Society of Manitoba visit www.alzheimer.mb.ca/you-can-help/.
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 19, January 24, 2017.