Alzheimer's Awareness Month a chance to learn

More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to surpass 14 million by 2060. More than 16 million American caregivers provide over 17 billion hours of unpaid care every year.

Those staggering statistics come from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America to highlight Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in November. In light of these figures, the foundation urges citizens to be proactive about their brain health and get a memory screening.

“The brain is one of the body’s most vital areas. Just as we routinely get our blood pressure and cholesterol evaluated and undergo other health screenings, we need to regularly check our brain health too,” said AFA President & CEO Charles Fuschillo Jr. “Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is a great time to be proactive about your brain health by getting a memory screening, regardless of whether you’re experiencing memory issues.”

The foundation also is sponsoring the following virtual events this month to better equip patients and caregivers (register at > get involved):

• “Flying By the Seat of Our Pants and Other Helpful Coping Strategies” from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10. Aging and dementia specialist Danuta Lipinska will offer creative and person-centered solutions to successful caregiving as well as tips for self-care and wellbeing.

• “Educating America Tour — California” from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15. A series of speakers will discuss topics including future directions in treatment, estate planning and what happens after a dementia diagnosis.

• “Understanding the Path of Those Who Wander” from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16. Participants in this professional training will build knowledge on Alzheimer’s disease and explore symptoms that can lead a person to go out in search of something outside of their current setting. The fee is $25.

• “Educating America Tour — Washington, D.C.” from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Nov. 22. A series of speakers will discuss topics including preserving brain health while aging, legal and financial issues, and trends and disparities in risk and diagnosis of dementia.

Talking with a loved one about suspected symptoms of Alzheimer’s can be difficult. The Alzheimer’s Association offers these steps to help ease the process:

• Identify what the loved one is doing — or not doing — that’s out of the ordinary and causing concern.

• Assess if there are any health or lifestyle issues that could be a factor, such as family stress or health conditions like diabetes or depression.

• Check if friends and family have noticed any concerning behavior.

• Ask if he or she will see a doctor and show your support by offering to go to the appointment.

• Give words of encouragement like, “There are lots of things that could be causing this. Let’s see if the doctor can help us figure out what’s going on.”

• If needed, have multiple conversations. Take notes about the experience to help plan for the next conversation.

For more ways to support families and people living with the disease, visit