World Alzheimer's Day, September 21st, 2012

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September 21st  is World Alzheimer's Day; a date set aside by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1994 to bring attention to a devastating disease that has affected the entire world and has become a major global health issue.

The theme of this year's World Alzheimer's Day 2012 is 'Dementia: Living Together'. The focus will be on reducing the stigma associated with dementia and encouraging a better understanding of dementia in our communities. Misconceptions are common, greater education and positive messages are hugely important. We need a World Alzheimer's Day partly because attitudes and approaches still vary enormously, often to the detriment of those afflicted. This day is intended to sensitize the general public to the facts associated with the disease.

Awareness about this degenerative and irreversible disorder is very important. By helping people better understand the disease, the symptoms, and the extent to which the disease can progress, we not only help the patients, we help the family members and caregivers better cope with the ordeal of watching their loved ones slip into dementia.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and although a great deal of excellent research continues to advance our knowledge of the disease, Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and it cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. Today there are over 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease, and a new case emerges every 68 seconds. Because the population of the US is aging, the number of people with Alzheimer's will continue to rise unless something can be done to stem the disease. At current rates, experts believe that as many as 16 million Americans will have the disease by the year 2050.

Staying Safe: Wandering and The Alzheimer's Patient

One of the most dangerous symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease is the life threatening behavior of wandering or elopement. An Alzheimer's patient who wanders away can easily become lost and confused and every minute delayed in recovering them increases the risk of a tragic outcome. It is imperative that caregivers take steps to minimize the potential of wandering and in the event their loved one goes missing have a plan or program in place to quickly locate them.

Governments should "spend now to save later" because early diagnosis, safety, and security steps could yield huge savings.

World Alzheimer's day tells the caregivers of Alzheimer's patients that they are not alone and it helps in educating the general public about this devastating disease. Awareness will one day lead to effective treatments and eventually a cure. Until then our mission, at Project Lifesaver, will remain protecting the at risk populations and improving the quality of life for their caregivers by delivering the tools and training to public safety agencies that are responding to individuals with cognitive disorders that elope.

To contact Gene Saunders, CEO/ Founder Project Lifesaver International or for more information visit us at: projectlifesaver.org/ 1.877.580.LIFE(5433)