July 17, 2019

New Alzheimer’s Campaign encourages families to discuss cognitive problems sooner

(Atlanta, GA) — It’s a conversation no family wants to have – talking to a loved one about memory loss or cognitive decline.

Close family members are typically the first to notice memory issues or cognitive problems, but they are often hesitant to say something – even when they know something is wrong.

A new survey released today by the Alzheimer’s Association reveals that nearly 9 in 10 Americans experiencing memory loss, thinking problems or other symptoms of cognitive decline would want others to tell them and share their concerns.

However, nearly three out of four Americans say that talking to a close family member about memory loss, thinking problems, or other signs of cognitive problems would be challenging for them.

During Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month this June, the Alzheimer’s Association aims to bridge the current communication gap, not only by encouraging families to talk about cognitive concerns sooner, but also by launching a new national campaign in partnership with the Ad Council, to help facilitate these difficult conversations before a crisis occurs.

The “Our Stories” campaign is the first-ever collaboration between the two groups and features real stories of people who noticed cognitive changes in a family member and took the first, difficult step to initiate a conversation. The campaign was created pro-bono by the community.

“Seeking an early diagnosis can help determine if someone’s cognitive changes are truly due to Alzheimer’s or some other, perhaps even treatable, condition”, added Linda Davidson, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association, Georgia Chapter. “Early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s allows the person with the disease to play an active role in planning for the future and making the most of life”, she said.

Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. It is America’s sixth leading cause of death, affecting more than 5 million Americans and 16 million caregivers. Despite Alzheimer’s growing impact, many families struggle with discussing the issue.

Rick Krause, 74, from Lilburn, Georgia recalls a moment when his wife Sandy did not remember a name of a species on a trip. “We took a road trip to South Florida”, he said.  “Sandy was unable to recognize or remember a name of a species that she should have and immediately talked to her doctor about it. Couple of years later, she was officially diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimer’s”.

The campaign demonstrates the importance of family members trusting their instincts and proactively raising concerns.

The message, “When something feels different, it could be Alzheimer’s – now is the time to talk,” will be important for shifting people from being passive when they observe potential symptoms, to taking an important step and having a conversation.

“By highlighting heartfelt, relatable stories of people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, this new critical campaign will help ease the challenges associated with starting this difficult conversation. We hope it will encourage audiences to notice the signs early, trust their gut, and have a talk. Having this conversation early can make a big difference in the lives of those who have been diagnosed and their families,” said Lisa Sherman, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Ad Council.

Video stories of caregivers, who saw the signs and started a conversation, are designed to help illustrate how other families can do the same.

Additionally, the campaign’s website offers families tools and resources, including customizable conversations starters, a list of early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, benefits of early diagnosis, a downloadable discussion guide and other resources.

For resources to help start the conversation about cognitive concerns, visit “Our Stories.” For tips on Approaching Memory Loss Concerns, visit alz.org.

In addition, the Alzheimer’s Association helps families and friends navigate challenges and considerations at each stage of the disease, through face-to-face conversations with experts in local communities, our free 24/7 Helpline (800.272.3900) and comprehensive support and resources on alz.org.

About the Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month 2019 Survey

Versta Research conducted an omnibus survey of 1,234 U.S. adults on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association. Sampling was balanced on age, gender, ethnicity, region, and income to accurately represent the U.S. adult population based on U.S. Census data. The survey was conducted May 6 through May 9, 2019. Assuming no sample bias the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3%.

About Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, a time dedicated to increasing public awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, available resources and how you can get involved to support the cause. Visit alz.org/abam to learn more about Alzheimer’s, share your story and how you can support the cause during Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month.

About the Alzheimer’s Association

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s ®. Visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900.

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