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3 things to know about dementia

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, which is an opportunity to take action against this fatal disease and other dementias.

President Ronald Regan designated June as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in 1983 – a time when there were less than 2 million people with the disease. Today, that number has grown to more than 5 million.

Here are 3 things to know about dementia.

  1. Although most people associate dementia with memory loss, the condition affects people in a variety of ways.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, visual perception, reasoning and judgment and communication and language can also be impaired. Common symptoms include difficulties concentrating, problems planning and thinking through things or struggling with familiar daily tasks, like following a recipe.

  1. Dementia is not a natural part of aging, but age is the biggest risk factor.

A study by the University of Cambridge shows that improvements in health and levels of education might be protecting people from the disease. Risk factors, such as high blood pressure and lack of exercise, usually can be changed to help reduce risk.

  1. People can still live well with dementia.

Support and treatments are available that can help with symptoms and managing daily life. Medications are available to help with some types of dementia and stop the progression of symptoms. Occupational therapy can help prevent accidents and falls, manage behavior and teach coping behaviors.

Active retirement communities like Plum Landing in Aurora offer many amenities that aid in the prevention of dementia. The residents at this premier Fox Valley community enjoy opportunities to exercise, engage in social activities and organized games. In addition, the experienced kitchen staff provides restaurant-style dining with healthy, balanced menu.

Fun activities, laughter and being active help engage the brain and grow new brain cells, which ultimately helps prevent dementia.