June is National Alzheimer’s Awareness month. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and it affects an individual’s memory, thinking and behavior. Alzheimer’s disease is projected to impact more of us as our population gets older and the number of individuals diagnosed with the disease is expected to double by the year 2040. Within this, Latinos are 1.5 times more likely to have Alzheimer’s or related dementias. Among all races, women are two times more likely to be affected by Alzheimer’s, which means that Latinas are especially at risk.   

As a Latina led firm, VPE is proud to play a role in raising awareness about Alzheimer’s. VPE is working with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the Take On Alzheimer’s campaign. The campaign aims to educate Californians about Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) and empower individuals and their families to recognize the signs and symptoms, foster open conversations with family and healthcare providers, and understand ways to promote overall brain health.  

VPE assisted with increasing awareness of Alzheimer’s among the Latino community throughout California. VPE handled statewide media relations targeting both English and Spanish Latino media, community outreach and the establishment of a wide network of community-based organizations like Visión Y Compromiso. Additionally, VPE directed a regional outreach event in Los Angeles County, to effectively roll out the Take on Alzheimer’s campaign.  

“As a community, we must unite to support those affected by Alzheimer’s every step of the way,” said Maria Lemus, Executive Director, Visión y Compromiso. “Community-based organizations play a vital role in providing the necessary support networks and bridging gaps in access to resources, services, and care.” 

As part of the effort, the Take on Alzheimer’s team is hosting informational booths at community events across California. Community members who have visited the information booths shared their experiences as caregivers and that it was their first time receiving in-language guidance or culturally relevant materials about caring for their loved one with Alzheimer’s.  To meet this growing need, CDPH has developed a website in Spanish to share resources for Alzheimer’s (EnfrentaAlz.com) and have also developed in-language materials to provide guidance and facts. 

Memory loss is not necessarily a ‘normal’ part of aging. If memory loss interferes with daily activities or tasks, it could be indicative of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. It’s important to distinguish between typical age-related changes and Alzheimer’s disease, which is a chronic condition. 

Here are 10 warning signs and symptoms that, if observed in oneself or a loved one, should be brought to a doctor’s attention: 

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life 
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems 
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work or at leisure 
  4. Confusion with time or place 
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relations 
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing 
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps 
  8. Decreased or poor judgment 
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities 
  10. Changes in mood and personality 

In honor of Older American’s Month in May, VPE led the charge in planning and hosting an educational event for Los Angeles County. The event was a community call to action to raise awareness of how Alzheimer’s disproportionately affects women especially Latinas and African Americans. Local health providers, experts and community leaders discussed Alzheimer’s and dementia, and shared resources about managing caregiving and navigating the memory health journey. 

Understanding the difference between signs of aging and Alzheimer’s can help you.  Contact your health care provider about early detection. Whether for yourself or a loved one, receiving a diagnosis is a first step toward planning for the future and making sure your wishes are followed. Please visit TakeonAlz.com to learn more about the campaign and ways you can help #TakeOnAlz. We invite you to download the social media toolkit for graphics and content to share and help inform the community.