January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Every year, the Alzheimer Society takes the opportunity to raise awareness about neurocognitive disorders and the importance of early diagnoses. Here’s an overview of what you should know.
What are neurocognitive disorders?
Although neurocognitive disorders are often associated with memory loss, they can also affect a person’s mood, behaviour, thinking, language skills and problem-solving abilities. However, it’s important to note that neurocognitive disorders are different from age-related memory loss (ARML), which isn’t caused by an underlying medical condition.
Who do they affect?
Alzheimer’s disease most commonly affects people over the age of 65. However, some individuals may start to show signs of cognitive impairment in their 50s or 40s. Additionally, certain medical factors such as experiencing head trauma or having cerebrovascular disease can increase the risk of developing a neurocognitive disorder. Early diagnosis is important because neurocognitive disorders are progressive and worsen over time.
What can you do?
Although neurocognitive disorders often affect a person’s ability to communicate and express themself, it’s important to continue to converse with them to help them feel safe and at ease. If you have Alzheimer’s disease or think you may have a neurocognitive disorder, talk to your doctor and contact the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
To learn more about neurocognitive disorders, visit alzheimer.ca.