Be aware of the myths and misconceptions about Alzheimer’s disease

There is a widespread misunderstanding that dementia is an inevitable part of ageing

Common myths and misconceptions

Only older people can get Alzheimer disease

Actually Alzheimer disease can affect persons in their 30 and 40s and 50s. This is referred to as younger onset Alzheimer’s. Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease often has a strong genetic link.

Memory loss is a natural part of aging

Aging is associated with a certain degree of memory loss however Alzheimer disease is more than just an occasional memory loss. This is because brain cells are affected and ultimately die off and therefore a person with Alzheimer disease often forgets the name of a family member, long time friend and how to get home.

Use of Aluminum cans or cooking in aluminum pots and pans can cause Alzheimer disease

Once considered a suspect in Alzheimer subsequent studies have suggested that aluminum no longer poses a threat.

Flu shots increase the risk of Alzheimer disease

Studies have shown that flu shots and other vaccinations can actually reduce the risk of Alzheimer disease 

My mom has Alzheimer’s, so I’ll probably get it, too.

Having a parent or sibling with Alzheimer’s does increase your risk for developing the disease compared to someone without a familial link. But it doesn’t mean you’re likely to get it. Family history only increases your risk slightly. The role of genetics in the development of Alzheimer’s disease is still under investigation.

 Misconception People with Alzheimer’s become agitated, violent and aggressive

This is not applicable to all persons with Alzheimer’s. These symptoms are often related to the changes in the brain which, can cause fear, and confusion and the frustration of not being able to express one’s self verbally. Understanding the disorder assists family members to adapt means to communicate and therefore reduce negative behavior associated with the disorder.

Misconception People with Alzheimer’s can’t function, can’t have a quality of life, and can’t enjoy activities.

This is not true at all. Persons in the early stages can enjoy activities and medications are helping this. Even in the later stages persons  integrated into positive environments are capable of both giving and receiving love and can participate in activities as well as to laugh and enjoy life.

People with Alzheimer’s disease cannot understand what is going on around them.

Some people with Alzheimer’s disease understand what is going on around them; others have difficulty. The disease does affect a person’s ability to communicate and make sense of the world around them, although it affects each person differently. When we assume someone does not understand, feelings can be hurt unintentionally. The fact is a person with Alzheimer’s disease is still the same person as before and needs to be treated with dignity and respect.

Worldwide Alzheimer’s Association are making the following plea:

Put an end to the myths surrounding Alzheimer’s disease.

Get the facts:

  • learn about the disease
  • seek help
  • treat people with the disease with respect