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Over Five Million Americans Affected by Alzheimers


By Casey Overton

The elderly have always had a famous stereotype of being forgetful. This stereotype has often made older people the butt of many jokes in entertainment and the media. For over five million Americans and those close to them, however, these jokes are no laughing matter.

Alzheimer’s disease is a disorder that targets the brain’s neurons (usually of those 65 and older) which will, when attacked, be unable to connect with other nerve cells and subsequently die. This causes memory loss, behavioral changes, and decline in thinking and language skills. Alzheimer’s is progressive and degenerative and currently has no cure. There are drugs to aid in the removal of symptoms, but on average, individuals live only eight to ten years after they have been diagnosed.

Alzheimer’s remains one of the top ten causes of death in America which is why it is so important that a cure is found.  For this cause, President Ronald Reagan declared November National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983. November has rolled around again for the 29th time since Reagan’s declarations and the number of people affected by the disease has gone from two million in 1983 to over five million today.

Although Alzheimer’s is not currently curable, all hope is not lost. Researchers are constantly searching for a cure, and the researchers are not the only ones who can lend a helping hand. All across America communities come together to hold various events to help raise money and awareness.

There are many opportunities to get involved in the area. The greater Richmond chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association keeps their website updated with upcoming events including walks and lectures. The Alzheimer’s Association also has a 24 hour, 7 day a week helpline. Trained staff are ready to take calls about anything concerning Alzheimer’s at all times. For more information visit

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