SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – It’s Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. In Springfield, there are events focused on prevention and education.
On November 10, there is a Community Forum on Alzheimer’s Disease at the Library Center in Springfield, primarily for prevention and ways to help Ozarks with the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Alzheimer’s disease is among the top 10 deaths among Missouri residents.
Mark Applegate is an Alzheimer’s caregiver for his mother. he said he wanted to change that.
“It’s hard to convince, but I can tell you that if you hang out and spend some time with people with dementia, especially loved ones who have it, it will change your mind,” Applegate said.
Applegate said during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. He is dedicated to telling people that small changes could prevent you from getting the disease.
“Anything that’s good for your heart, you exercise, your diet, your blood pressure, your blood sugar will also be good for your brain,” Applegate said. “It all interconnects.”
Applegate’s mother has suffered from Alzheimer’s for years. His uncle and grandmother died of the disease. He says a lot of people, even him, go overboard as caregivers, don’t find time for themselves, and get sick.
“(It’s a) 36-hour day because you’re around the clock as a caregiver, and then you’re also trying to make your own life,” Applegate said.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, three of the main symptoms of the disease are memory loss, problems with problem solving and difficulty performing normal tasks.
Applegate said if a member of your family does any of these things, don’t confuse it with old age.
“The sooner the better to find out,” Applegate said.
Applegate said that as we prepare for extreme weather, be sure to keep an eye out for older family members. This includes locking doors, getting kids door locks, chimes, or even tracking apps, anything that stops them from doing something dangerous.
“It happens a lot, especially when the weather gets extreme like we’re entering now, the winter season,” Applegate said. “I had a friend who lost his mother the same way, was wondering and had dementia.”
Applegate warns people to take family members to the doctor if they have warning signs.
An event at the Library Center off Campbell is hosted by the Alzheimer’s Disease State Plan Task Force. It starts at 9 a.m. this Thursday, November 10.
Everyone is invited. The goal is to talk about the warning signs and how you can be a better caregiver by stepping back.
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