Local advocates push for change: June marks “Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month”

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TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) June marks “Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month” and local advoctaes in Northeast Tennessee are asking the community to wear purple to spark change.

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that worldwide 50 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The Northeast Tennessee Chapter of Alzheimer’s Tennessee Inc. says awareness is more important now than ever.

“We are seeing more and more individuals in their 40s, 50s and early 60s being diagnosed. I think in America sometimes it does take being affected and being affected on a grander scale before people begin to take it to heart,” said regional director Tracey Wilson.

June is a time where advocates hope to shine a light on memory and brain health awareness.

Alzheimer’s is the only leading cause of death that cannot be prevented, cured, or even slowed down.

Those pushing for change hope to see effective treatments for the disease, preventative strategies and gold standard care for all people affected by the disease.

There is also growing evidence that suggests people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline early in life by making lifestyle changes. These include staying active, getting enough sleep and even eating healthy.

Wilson says social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia; a loss in routine activity can actually speed up cognitive decline for those patients.

“It’s just that isolation causing worsening symptoms, more confusion, maybe more anxiety and agitation. So realizing that with today’s technology there is a way to do everything we were doing before, it’s just reaching out, finding those networks, and Alzheimer’s Tennessee is one of those networks, so that we can have as much normalcy as possible,” said Wilson.

The regional chapter of Alzheimer’s Tennessee is still connecting patients and their families in the Tri-Cities to vital resources amid the pandemic. Visit their website for more information.

Their Johnson City office can be reached by phone at (423) 232-8993.

National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is celebrated in November.

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