November marks the beginning of the holiday season, when families and friends gather to celebrate old traditions and create new memories to treasure in the future.
November also marks National Alzheimer’s Disease Month, raising awareness of an incurable disease that destroys those holiday memories for millions of people. The loving friends and family members who care for those with Alzheimer’s are also recognized in November via National Family Caregivers Month.
For families affected by Alzheimer’s, the holiday season can be especially challenging. The hectic pace, family gatherings and additional activities can heighten confusion and memory loss for Alzheimer’s patients, even as caregivers and loved ones strive to maintain beloved traditions and a sense of normalcy. The holidays may even be the first time that caregivers and loved ones notice changes that could point to Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers a number of helpful tips to reduce the stress of the holidays, both for the person with Alzheimer’s and his or her caregiver. Among the suggestions:
- Keep up with everyday tasks
- Stay engaged with family and friends
- Stimulate their senses
- Jog their memories
And of course, don’t forget about thoughtful gifts for the caregivers to ease their stress!
The Alzheimer’s Association provides many valuable resources to assist the 5.4 million people with Alzheimer’s and the 15 million people who care for them, even as the non-profit organization works aggressively to fund and find a cure.
UnitedHealthcare is proud to be the Texas sponsor of the Alzheimer’s Association’s largest fundraising event, Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Throughout the months of September, October and November, UnitedHealthcare supported 41 Walk to End Alzheimer’s events across the state, with hundreds of UnitedHealthcare employees volunteering in their local communities to reinforce UnitedHealthcare’s $100,000 contribution to the Alzheimer’s Association. Don Langer, president & CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas, served as chairman of the 2015 Houston Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
“The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is an important part of the Alzheimer’s Association’s efforts to support research for a disease for which there is no known cure or treatment,” explains Langer.
Alzheimer’s disease is the nation’s sixth leading cause of death and is the only cause of death among the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed. In addition to the personal toll the disease takes on millions of families, it’s also costly on finances. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $226 billion in 2015 alone. Those costs are projected to rise to as high as $1.1 trillion by 2050.