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New Alzheimer’s Campaign Encourages Families to Discuss Cognitive Problems Sooner, Enabling Early Diagnosis

Talking to a loved one about memory loss or cognitive decline is not what anyone wants to do, but it is necessary.

“It’s not something that we all want to talk about, but it is certainly something that we should talk about,” said Juliette Bradley, Director of Communications for the Alzheimer’s Association Heart of America Chapter. “Start talking to the people that are with this individual that you are suspecting cognitive decline with. Is anybody else noticing some of the same things you’re noticing? If they are, let’s talk to the person who has that cognitive decline. Let’s visit with them first.”

A new survey released 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.

“We need to break that ice,” said Bradley. “We need to say, you know what, talking about it is the most important thing you can do. It’s going to possibly give you an early diagnosis and believe it or not, there’s lots of benefits to that.”

The earlier in the decline that a diagnosis takes place, the more autonomy the sufferer can likely retain.

“It gives them an opportunity to be part of decisions that are going to affect the rest of their life,” said Bradley. “It can let them be part of a community in ways that maybe they had not thought about before. It allows them to get their finances in order. It allows them to spend time with people who they really want to spend time with.”

Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease. There is no cure, but the Alzheimer’s Association supports research that is looking to find the key to unlock that mystery. For more information, go to alz.org.

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