Alzheimer’s Awareness Month offers support

Many students and their families have relatives around them that have suffered from Alzheimer’s. There are support groups, awareness groups, counselors, and social workers to help those who are affected by Alzheimers.
There are over 5.8 million cases of Alzhiemers in the U.S. per year, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. More information can be found on the Alzheimer’s Association Website. Students in the community could have a family member suffering from this disease.
“Alzheimer’s has affected me because three of my grandparents passed away from the complications that came with it. I recently lost my grandma in August, and she suffered from Alzheimer’s for around seven years. My mom was her primary caregiver and had to do pretty much everything for her,” said senior Mackenna Lavin.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that causes brain cells to slowly deteriorate, causing memory loss and loss of basic skills, and then making it almost impossible to carry out simple tasks. Alzhiemer’s slowly destroys nerve connections in the brain, which make it a deadly disease. Alzheimer’s Awareness month is in November each year.
Annie Swiatek, the school nurse, talked about some effects Alzhiemer’s has on people.
“[It] affects people’s health because they can’t remember things. They don’t remember how to take care of themselves, and eventually in the later stages, they can’t walk and eat,” Swiatek said.
Alzheimer’s is a difficult disease to try to help someone through, many saying how overall being there is scary because they might forget the people they care about. Alzheimer’s is very hard to go through with a loved one.
“The most difficult part was definitely my Grandma’s last days because I did not realize how ill she truly was. Her body started to shut down because she no longer remembered how to swallow and could not eat. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through seeing someone I loved being treated this way by her own body. Another hard part was how it affected my mom. She was extremely patient with my grandma and did absolutely everything for her even on the worst days,” Lavin said.
There are walks all around the country to support those with Alzheimer’s and their families. Some students walk each year to help raise money and awareness for this disease that affects millions. There are even groups to help support students in the North community, not only with a student suffering from an Alzhiemer’s related loss but any loss they may have had that is affecting them.
“North supports students, more broadly than just Alzheimer’s and dementia diagnosis, with grief in a number of ways and a lot of those are individual contacts. We also do each year have a grief group. A group for students where particularly a family member has passed,” said social worker Joe Alger.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but the more people who know about this disease the better chance for a cure there is.
“This sickness runs through both sides of my family and has impacted my family severely resulting in the loss of three of my grandparents. Raising awareness is so important because finding a cure is necessary,” Lavin said.