June 20-21 is the longest day of sunlight for places in the Northern Hemisphere. On this day, teams around the world will participate in The Longest Day event, a sunrise-to-sunset occasion to honor those facing Alzheimer’s – the person with the disease plus the family and caregivers. People living with Alzheimer’s, aware that their minds are betraying them, can suffer from unspeakable fear, agitation, paranoia and other issues that make living, while gradually losing touch with the world they once knew, a devastating experience.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be a round-the-clock job since the symptoms of the disease expressed as agitation and fear often peak in the evening. What was once known as a good night’s sleep nearly disappears for the alert caregiver. Lives are turned upside down. Where the elder once changed the diaper of his or her child, now the adult child is often changing the diaper of the parent. Providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s is indeed symbolic of a series of endlessly long days.
There are many ways to honor those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. You can wear the symbolic color purple. You can organize a local fundraiser. You can contact the people you elected to public office and urge them to vote for better funding for Alzheimer’s disease. You can see if you qualify for one of the many Alzheimer’s studies now looking for volunteers. Healthy people are needed as badly as those showing signs of the disease. Also, there’s still time to register for an event or take up an idea listed on the Alzheimer’s Association website and promote it locally.
Most importantly, don’t only think of June as Alzheimer’s awareness month or June 21st as a day of action. The action that will truly count is ongoing involvement in the cause. More funding and more volunteers are needed in order to discover a method or methods that can prevent or cure Alzheimer’s.Now is as good a time as any to get involved.
Published On: June 17, 2014