(GTU) – Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease. When people develop the disease, they may begin to lose familiarity with their family members. Trouble speaking, reading, or writing are also common issues. They may even forget how to brush their teeth or comb their hair. It is the most common form of dementia among older people. World Alzheimer’s Day takes place every year on 21 September. It is the focus of World Alzheimer’s Month during the month of September.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that begins with memory loss and can potentially lead to the loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment. Alzheimer’s disease affects the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language, however, the degree to which the disease affects individual parts of the brain varies from person to person and symptoms may vary.

While scientists do not know everything about the disease and are still doing research, the current understanding is that there is no one cause; instead, there are several contributing factors to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. These include:

  • Family history – researchers believe that genetics may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Age – this is the best-known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease
  • Researchers are still doing work to determine whether diet, education and environment can play a role in developing Alzheimer’s

Memory loss is shown to be the most telling early sign or symptom of the presence of dementia – especially when it is presenting in an older adult as age is a key risk factor for the development of the disease. Other common signs may include:

  • Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Decreased or poor judgement
  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as repeating questions or getting lost going to familiar places
  • Changes in mood, personality or behavior
  • Misplacing or losing things and unable to trace steps to find them

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease early and accurately is an important step that improves treatment and can help with financial planning and execution of advance directives and possible enrollment in clinical trials. There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but medical management may help improve the quality of life for both the person suffering from Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

There is increasing evidence showing that adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors can increase brain health and possibly reduce the risk of developing brain-related issues later in life (such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease). Optum Community Centers offer a number of programs to help aging adults stay active and healthy. They offer no-cost classes and events to help improve physical, mental, and emotional health.

Optum Community Centers lets people connect with others – finding ways to stay socially engaged can support brain health. Find activities to love to do and share them with friends, family, and community. Optum offers adults 55+ the opportunity to connect at one of their 3 Community Centers in Utah – Sandy, West Valley City, and the newest location in Layton.

Optum’s Community Centers provide people 55+ a welcoming place to meet others, be active, participate in social programs, learn about important health topics or just enjoy good conversation. There is no cost to visit or join activities.

In recognition of Brain Health and World Alzheimer’s Month, each Optum Community Center is giving out free word search and crossword puzzle books to anyone 55+ who is interested, while supplies last. Simply visit one of the Community Centers in Sandy, Layton, or West Valley City to pick one up and see what classes are available that support brain health.

Visit Optum now.

This story contains sponsored content.