Danielle Smith, Producer
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Alzheimer’s disease is the eighth leading causes of death in Pennsylvania, prompting state officials to educate the public on the condition and other related disorders. In the Commonwealth, more than 400,000 people have Alzheimer’s.
Heidi Champa, aging services specialist with the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, says there is still a lot of stigma associated with a dementia diagnosis. Their upcoming virtual forum will focus on Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
“Lewy Body and frontotemporal dementia, we have experts presenting during the event to give information about both of these dementias. And we also have people who are living with Lewy Body and Frontotemporal dementia, who will be telling their stories about how they were diagnosed and how they’re living today, ” she explained.
Both conditions are caused by abnormal protein deposits in the brain and can lead to a decline in cognitive function and other problems. The online forum is November 2nd from 9am to 12:30pm EST. Registration is still open.
Champa emphasized that education and awareness are the first steps in helping people with dementia and their families, and said it is important for Pennsylvanians to understand what dementia is, the different types, and the symptoms.
“Experts agree that identifying the type of dementia that an individual has can help them get the right care and also allow their family members to have a better understanding of what is happening to their loved ones,” she continued. “You know, proper and timely diagnosis is very important.”
Champa said early diagnosis helps families build a better care team and get a handle on other medical issues, and added that there are counseling and other support services available to Pennsylvanians. Additional resources are online at www.aging.pa.gov.