Alzheimer’s Disease International explains the theme by saying that the focus is to ensure and emphasise the importance of getting a diagnosis and encouraging medical professionals to recognise the signs of the disease in order for people to receive the treatment they need.
While some promises of concrete treatment might be a giving a kind of false hope at present – there is no doubt that those who have a knowledge of their diagnosis and are able to access support groups and information are in a far, far better place than those who do not.
Raising awareness (and money) can only help both in the research developments and in the day to day practicalities involved in caring for those with dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society put together this video though that explains some of the importance of diagnosis in the words who have received them. It might seem incredibly bleak but often a confirmed diagnosis can be a relief because it provides an explanation about what is happening some certainty in a world and a situation that becomes increasingly vague and distant.
A variety of Alzheimer’s organisations throughout the world have initiated ‘Memory Walks’ to mark World Alzheimer’s Day as well as to raise money for local organisations which provide support.
I know in the UK these mostly took place over the weekend and the Alzheimer’s Society has a good summary of the events (atlhough written before the event!).
It seems that barely a week passes without new thoughts and hopes for cures or tests for new Alzheimer’s drugs. I am reminded of a woman I saw whose daughter told me how she would travel anywhere in the country that they were conducting trials of new medications (a story had come out in the media that week about trials in Scotland) in order for her mother to receive any drugs – trial or otherwise – that might help.
While at this point, drugs may not help, apart from possibly in the short term to delay the progression of Alzheimer’s a little.
This desperation focused my mind to remain committed to providing the support and information as best I can and if possible ease some of the process of dealing with a disease like this however possible.
So today it’s worth spending some time thinking and remembering those who might be suffering from dementia, and those who care for them.