In June, you may have seen people in Louisville wearing a lot of purple. That’s because it was Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month, an annual effort to raise funds for dementia and brain research, sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association.
Every summer, the Alzheimer's Association and participants ask folks to #GoPurple to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The need never ceases for critical dementia and neurological research funding.
So, what happens now that June is over? What hope does a dementia-affected senior living in Louisville have?
As of this writing, there are no known ways to cure or arrest the progress of Alzheimer's or other dementias. But memory care, including the specialized personal dementia care we offer here at The Episcopal Church Home (ECH), can sometimes help to slow memory loss and cognitive dysfunction.
Every year, we come closer to unlocking information about the various forms of dementia: how they begin, what factors cause them, how they progress, what can slow them down, etc. Eventually, such answers could lead medical science to devise more effective treatments. The hope, then, is that a cure will one day be found.
So, what can you do to help, Louisville? Here are several ideas, good for any time of year.
1. Give what you can.
Save your change for a year and donate it all at tax time. Or, donate a portion of your tax refund.
Hold a garage sale and give the proceeds to the Alzheimer's Association (or another non-profit, reputable dementia research advocacy organization). Put $10 a week from your paycheck. Even $5 or a $1 a week is better than nothing.
You can also donate to the Episcopal Church Home team that will walk to raise funds in Louisville’s Walk to End Alzheimer's on Saturday, Sept. 8.
Again, the amount you raise or donate isn't the most important issue at hand. The act of giving is.
2. Host a dementia research fundraiser.
Here's the great thing about fundraising events: they can be big or small. You can start tiny and grow your fundraiser year after year.
You can raise a little money, or a lot. Anything helps, as long as the resources get to the researchers who could find the cure.
Try hosting a dinner party and charging a cover. Plan a community picnic, or a music festival at a local venue. Appeal to Kentuckiana businesses to help you produce a fundraiser, in exchange for promotional considerations and the tax write-off they would get.
It doesn't have to be anything too involved, and you'll likely find others here in the Bluegrass who'd love a chance to help.
3. Tell others.
Instead of red or blue, wear head-to-toe purple to the UK-U of L football matchup this fall and, whenever you get a quizzical look, let curious folks know why you're doing it.
Add the #ENDALZ tag to your social media posts. Chat with others about how dementia or Alzheimer's has affected your life, or your loved ones' lives.
Because raising awareness is mission-critical to the cause. The more people are aware of the disease's impact, and the more they encounter people whose lives have been impacted by it, the more likely they'll be to help out, too!
Has your family member recently received a dementia or Alzheimer's diagnosis? Our Episcopal Church Home memory care experts have put together a resource that can help you. Download "Making Sense of Dementia" here.
In this free guide, you'll learn how to tell the signs of normal aging from the symptoms of new-onset dementia or Alzheimer's. You'll learn about the therapies available to your elder loved one. And you'll learn how to choose the right memory care provider for your family's needs.
Remember, dementia isn't one disease — it's a blanket grouping of various brain disorders. Some are age-related, others are genetic, and still others (like Alzheimer's dementia) arise from undetermined factors.
#GoPurple to #ENDALZ today — and keep the movement alive all year long. Help our ECH memory care team and the Alzheimer's Association find cures for all forms of dementia!