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Rita Altman, R.N.

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5 Ways to Honor World Alzheimer's Day

Posted: 09/17/11 01:26 PM ET

Sept. 21 is designated as World Alzheimer's Day, where people around the world unite to raise awareness for Alzheimer's disease. Last year, Maria Shriver marked World Alzheimer's Day by highlighting that, "The nation's 78 million baby boomers are at the forefront of a coming Alzheimer's tsunami. They are entering their mid-60s and many will be getting Alzheimer's, which now affects 1 in every 8 people over 65."

That is a frightening statistic when you consider how many friends and family we know who are part of this age group. The sad reality is that we are all likely to be touched by Alzheimer's disease at some point in our lives.

Most of us are terrified at the idea that we or our loved ones might develop Alzheimer's and lose the cognitive functions that make us who we are. The result is that we try not to think about it. However, if we avoid it, we may not follow the recommended measures to reduce our risk of Alzheimer's, may miss the early warning signs and may not know how to help those around us who are dealing with it.

Here are five easy ways to honor World Alzheimer's Day this year:

Educate Yourself
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Knowing how Alzheimer's disease impacts an individual and those around them is the first step to understanding how we can help.

Too often, friends and family pull away after a loved one is diagnosed because they don't know what to say or do.

Alzheimer's does not rob us of the ones we love, it just makes them harder to reach.

With some basic knowledge, we can begin to understand what those with Alzheimer's are feeling and what we can do to ease their anxieties and connect with them.

On World Alzheimer's Day, many organizations, including Sunrise Senior Living, will be hosting events to help educate members of the public about Alzheimer's care.

These events will be a great introduction to caregiving best practices and communication techniques.
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