September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and the Alzheimer’s Society of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville wants the community to learn about the disease.
Erin Potvin, the organization’s Communications Coordinator, says it’s one of several different kinds of dementia, and the most common symptom is memory loss.
“What we like to say is, ‘the brain is like an onion,’” Potvin explains. “So, as those layers come off and you get into the core of the onion, that would be the person’s childhood memories, for example. So, they would remember that more than their short-term memories throughout what they did during the day.”
Potvin says there are more than 4,000 people in our region that are currently affected by some form of dementia, and it tends to affect people as they age into their 60s.
If you’re caring for a loved one, she says there are some early warning signs you can watch out for, like dressing for warm weather in the winter or cool weather in the summer.
Potvin also says some people can become “combative” when they have episodes of struggling with their memory.
“Never argue with a person that could potentially have dementia,” she says. “Just agree with them and go with it, and if you are seeing that they are getting a little bit aggressive towards their memory loss, then that definitely is a warning sign, as well.”
If you think a loved one might be showing symptoms, or you want to learn more about the disease, Potvin says you can contact the Alzheimer’s Society of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville.