June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. While COVID-19 and systemic racism continue to profoundly affect our nation, it is important to reflect on the role of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in these unprecedented times. COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people with dementia and their caregivers, and both conditions disproportionately impact people of color.
According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently highlighted in a Wall Street Journal article, approximately 100,000 people died from Alzheimer’s dementia from February through May alone – 18% higher than average. Moreover, the article discusses the pandemic’s abrupt halt to family visits in care facilities and the detrimental, sometimes fatal, implications of loneliness on people with dementia.
The deadly epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias permeates our nation and requires immediate, consistent attention. Unfortunately, the prevalence and death toll will continue to escalate until researchers discover improved treatments and preventions. Many people in our community have responded as a united front to COVID-19 by social distancing and wearing masks, and to systemic racism by speaking out against hate and intolerance and joining marches for equal rights. But how can we also work together this month and throughout the year to ensure Alzheimer’s and related dementias are a national priority?
- We can ADVOCATE. Supportive services for caregivers and isolated seniors are more critical now than ever. Spread the word about virtual support groups for caregivers and programs for isolated seniors, such as UCI’s new ASSIST Program. Message your members of Congress today urging them to support critical funding for Alzheimer’s research and care – Click HERE to Advocate.
- We can DONATE. Last Wednesday was UCI’s Annual Giving Day. If you missed the opportunity to participate and want to support local Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia research in any amount – Click HERE to Donate.
- We can PARTICIPATE. Researchers need volunteer participants to help answer questions and find better treatments for diseases. If you’d like to learn about studies for which you might qualify at UCI, consider joining the UCI C2C Registry – Click HERE to Participate.