Families Encouraged to Discuss Cognitive Issues During June’s Brain Awareness Month

There are currently 35.6 million people across the world who are struggling with dementia. Since it’s officially Brain Health Awareness Month, organizations across the country are focusing on improving medical care for individuals dealing with all kinds of cognitive impairments, from minor learning disabilities to Alzheimer’s.

According to The News-Herald, Alzheimer’s disease is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and there has been an 89% increase in Alzheimer’s related fatalities since the year 2000. Sadly, every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops this degenerative brain disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association and health advocates across the country are encouraging families to discuss memory and cognition concerns early on, rather than waiting until the disease progresses too much.

“Unfortunately, people often avoid conversations due to stigma and perceptions associated with Alzheimer’s,” said Nancy Udelson, president and CEO of Alzheimer’s Association’s Cleveland Area Chapter. “We know that denial, fear, anxiety, lack of awareness and difficulty having hard conversations about health issues, particularly dementia, are some of the reasons people avoid bringing up concerns about Alzheimer’s with family members.”

It’s not just dementia and Alzheimer’s that impact families across the U.S., either. Even discussing early signs of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can work wonders for both the individual with the disorder and the entire family.

If ADHD symptoms are ignored early on in a person’s life, there could be even more significant health concerns down the line. In fact, adults who struggle with ADHD are three times more likely to suffer from stress, depression, and other emotional issues that could potentially lead them to miss work or worse.

As far as discussing severe memory loss with family members, the majority of Americans are nervous about broaching these sensitive topics up. New findings from an Alzheimer’s Association survey show that 76% of Americans would be concerned about bringing up memory loss because they think they would offend their family member. Additionally, 69% of Americans are afraid of bringing up these discussions because of the threat of ruining their relationship with other family members.

These discussions, though immensely difficult, need to happen, however, in order to get struggling individuals the medical care they deserve and often times desperately need. The study also found that 38% of Americans would actually wait until a family member’s cognitive issues far worsened before raising any concerns. And, sadly, roughly 29% would not say anything to a family member despite clear signs of memory loss problems.

In another part of Ohio, the Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is using some unconventional methods to bring together their community in order to shine light on the difficulties of dealing with brain disease and bringing up these sensitive topics.

According to Dayton Daily News, The Longest Day, an event that will showcase a Food Truck Rally, a “Ride to Remember” benefit motorcycle ride, and a live broadcast, will take place on June 21.

“We encourage people in our community to come together and participate in activities they love — or an activity loved by someone affected by the disease — to show people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers that they’re not alone in the fight,” added Eric VanVlymen, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter and Regional Director for Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia.

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