Misconceptions About Alzheimer’s – We Must Get the Word Out
Despite the growing number of Americans directly affected by Alzheimer’s disease, there are still widespread misconceptions about it. Compared with other major diseases, Alzheimer’s appears to be less known and more likely misperceived as a “normal part of aging.” Even lesser known is younger-onset Alzheimer’s, which strikes individuals younger than 65. Misperceptions about the disease and its symptoms can lead to stigma and a feeling of shame for those living with it, which can prevent people from seeking or sharing a diagnosis and can compound the isolation and depression that sometimes accompanies the disease.
According to the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 11% of New Yorkers 45 and older report confusion or memory loss, but more than half haven’t spoken with a physician about it. Increased public education and awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is imperative to help people understand:
- Risk factors;
- the warning signs of Alzheimer’s;
- the benefit of early detection of the disease and diagnosis;
- available free support services;
- the importance of longer-term financial, healthcare and legal planning.