September Is World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

By Jeannie Finnegan, CDP, Dementia Care Consultant, Author & Guest Speaker

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and related dementias affect millions around the globe, and AD accounts for 60 to 70% of all dementias, making it the most common form of dementia. World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is dedicated to raising awareness, reducing stigma, and promoting early diagnosis. 

Dementia affects parts of the brain that control memory, language, and thought. This condition can cause loss of memory, inability to converse, personality changes, and difficulties with reasoning and judgment. Ultimately, dementia will make it difficult for a person to carry out daily activities. AD is a complex, progressive, degenerative disease and is always fatal. 

While AD can occur in younger individuals (known as Early Onset Alzheimer’s and caused by a rare genetic mutation), most people living with AD are over the age of 65. However, while the greatest risk factor for developing AD is age, dementia is not a normal part of the aging process. Scientists and physicians do not know what causes AD in older adults, but it is likely a combination of multiple health, lifestyle, and genetic factors.  Studies do show that there are a number of lifestyle and healthy activities that appear to reduce the risk of developing AD, such as exercising regularly, controlling blood pressure, quitting smoking, and regularly challenging the brain with cognitively stimulating activities such as reading, puzzles and games, word searches, and learning new material or skills.

A new study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience revealed a promising link between adult education and reduced risk of developing dementia:

“Many of us regularly engage in adult education classes, for example learning a language or a new skill. Is such adult education likewise associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia? Yes, according to researchers from the Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer of Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan.” 

The article goes on to report that, “The study analyzed data from the UK Biobank, finding that individuals involved in adult education courses had a 19% decreased chance of developing dementia.”

While further research is warranted, multiple studies have established what appears to be a solid connection between adult education, brain health, and lowered risk of dementia.

Are you or someone you love living with Alzheimer’s or dementia?  As part of the World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month mission, we want to help provide information and education on Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.  We offer one-on-one, family, and community education and seminars, and we work with families to help them navigate their care journey when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia. We invite you to contact us to schedule a free 15-minute phone call. Call (443) 812-1028) or email

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