World Alzheimer’s Day – Sep 21st

Alzheimer’s is a disease of the brain that causes a gradual, progressive and degenerative loss of one’s ability to remember, think, reason, judge, orient, and speak.  Alzheimer’s disease is only one type of dementia.  Dementia is a group of disorders that impairs mental functioning. Dementia is not a normal part of aging.  Howard Gruetzner, author of Alzheimer’s, a patient with Alzheimer’s will “in time forget not only the events of the past but what she did that morning, who her spouse is, where she lives, even her own name.  These are not the normal consequences of aging.” [1]  Alzheimer’s is real and it is going to affect a lot of people.  It is likely you are going to know one or more families or individuals affected by Alzheimer’s in your lifetime.

To bring greater awareness to Alzheimer’s, Alzheimer’s organizations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia each year on World Alzheimer’s Day, September 21st.

Quotable:  Every 68 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease. 

You may be wondering why Alzheimer’s needs any more attention.  Well, every 68 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease.  That’s right, one almost every minute of every day.  According to Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, experts believe the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s will quadruple to as many as 16 million by the year 2050.  That is a very sobering statistic.  Although these are American statistics, the Alzheimer Association of Calgary’s website posts some equally scary Canadian statistics. For instance, 1 in 11 Canadians over 65 is currently living with dementia, and the risk for dementia doubles every five years after age 65.  And by 2038, the projected number of newly diagnosed cases of dementia for those aged 65 years and older is expected to reach over 257,800 per year! [2]

We are told that Alzheimer’s leaves its victim doomed to “losing his/her mind” and to simply manage the disease’s progression alongside his/her family.  Subsequently, Alzheimer’s disease is often called a family disease, because the chronic stress of watching a loved one slowly decline affects everyone. The patient with Alzheimer’s lives with the disease, but caregivers live with the escalating stress of caregiving.  The type of role change from say provider and lover to caregiver also influences the depth of stress experienced.  Families are impacted by this disease.  Family caregivers are on a huge learning curve as they figure out how to “speak Alzheimer’s” and realize that they can no longer have the same kind of relationship with their stricken family member.

With Alzheimer’s beginning to emerge out of the shadows, resources abound for those who want to learn more.  I’ve spent the summer reading many books — I’ll be doing book reviews on my favourites later — and watching documentaries and movies.  No two patients or families experience Alzheimer’s the same way.  My favourite book is Before I Forget – Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s by B. Smith and Dan Gasby.  Each chapter is written from B. Smith’s perspective as an Alzheimer’s patient and from her husband’s perspective as the family caregiver and protector.  Their story is revealing, vulnerable and honest.  And of course, my favourite movie is “I’ll Be Me,” which centres on Glen Campbell’s struggle with Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is real.  And it is affecting more than the person diagnosed with it.  It affects families, communities, and more.  Cumulatively, over the next 30 years, dementia will cost Canadian society over $872 billion dollars!  This disease is going to affect you too — if not personally, as a taxpayer.

Want to make a difference?  Become educated.  Participate in Alzheimer’s fundraising events.  Attend events at your local Alzheimer Association office.

If you live in Calgary, Investors Group Alzheimer Walk & Run takes place on Thanksgiving Sunday.  Walk or run for Alzheimer’s, then enjoy your turkey and family — sharing memories and traditions.  Last year, my husband and I participated in this event in support of my mom and aunt, who are living with Alzheimer’s right now.

January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.  In January, I’ll take some time to talk about nutritional support for your brain, supportive resources for caregivers and families, and some book reviews of my favourite reads on Alzheimer’s.

Do you want to know how you can support your brain right now?  Reach out and contact Brenda by email to inquire about Watt Works Nutrition’s FREE Discovery Chat.  Looking forward to hearing from you.


[1] Howard Gruetzner, Alzheimer’s – A Caregiver’s Guide and Sourcebook, 3rd ed. (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2001) 74.


About Brenda

Brenda loves learning and sharing what she's learning with you. She is a certified keto/carnivore coach with Keto-Adapted (Maria and Craig Emmerich, a certified holistic nutritional consultant (CHNC), and a natural nutrition clinical practitioner (NNCP).