Alzheimer’s Awareness

What is Alzheimer's?

June is Alzheimer's Awareness Month

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. It is characterized by the gradual decline of cognitive functions, including memory, thinking, and reasoning skills, severely impacting an individual's ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer's unfolds in a slow and irreversible manner, beginning with mild forgetfulness and advancing to severe brain impairment. Through this blog, we aim to explore the multifaceted aspects of Alzheimer's disease, shedding light on its symptoms, stages, impact on patients and caregivers, and the ongoing search for effective treatments and a cure.

Alzheimer's Image

60-80% of dementia cases are Alzheimer’s.

152 million people are expected to have Alzheimer’s worldwide by 2050 – that is triple the amount of people affected now.

6th leading cause of death in America is Alzheimer’s.

Symptoms and Stages of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is marked by the abnormal build-up of protein deposits in the brain, which leads to the death of neurons, or brains cells. As the communication of neurons is disrupted, brain function declines. This disease also disrupts the metabolism and repair of brain cells, making it fatal in its later stages.

Read more here:

Symptoms of mild Alzheimer’s:

Memory Loss

The manifestation of this symptom varies from person to person. In the initial stages of Alzheimer’s, one might notice a tendency to ask the same question repeatedly, forget newly acquired information, or struggle to recall significant dates and events.

Poor Judgement

Individuals living with Alzheimer’s might exhibit impaired judgment when it comes to financial decisions, potentially leading to adverse outcomes. Furthermore, they may display a noticeable decline in personal care and upkeep, appearing more neglectful of their self-care routines.

Mood & Personality Changes

Loved ones of those with Alzheimer’s disease may observe changes in personality and mood. This may include aggression, irritability, or anxiety. Hiding things or believing others are hiding things is not an uncommon behavior.

Symptoms of moderate Alzheimer’s

Memory Loss

Forgetting important events or personal history are common signs of the progression of Alzheimer’s. The inability to learn new things is a further sign.

Difficulty with Language

Individuals affected by this disease may have trouble speaking coherently, as well as reading, writing, or working with numbers.

Impulsive Behavior

As judgment declines, impulsive behaviors, such as removing clothes at inappropriate times, may arise. Additionally, emotional outbursts and intense agitation may be noticed.

Symptoms of severe Alzheimer’s

Memory Loss

In the later stages, individuals may lose the ability to communicate altogether, they may not recognize loved ones, and they may not remember any experiences at all.

Loss of Appetite

Individuals may experience weight loss due to not remembering how to eat or forgetting that they have not eaten. Smell and taste may also be impaired.

Loss of Bowel/ Bladder Control

Individuals may not recognize the need to go to the bathroom, or they may not remember how. They also may not be able to communicate the need or have the mobility to get to the bathroom.

History of Alzheimer’s

  • The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist who first described the condition in 1901 after examining the brain of a patient who had experienced memory loss and other cognitive difficulties.
  • The term was first used by Dr. Emil Kraepelin, a colleague of Dr. Alzheimer.
  • In the 1960s, Alzheimer’s began to be better understood as a common cause of dementia in the elderly population.
  • In the 1970s-80s, researchers began to identify specific proteins and their role in the disease.
  • In 1984, the first criteria for diagnosing this disease was etablished.
  • Today, disease-modifying therapies are being developed, and though there are challenges, there is a widespread effort to find effective treatments.

Impact of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a disease that not only affects the individual who has been diagnosed, but also the friends and family and caregivers.

Friends and Family

Loved ones can be affected by this disease in a number of ways. Firstly, because of the attention required for the person with Alzheimer’s, individuals may neglect their other family members and friends, leading to strained relationships. Next, seeing a loved one decline and not remember important information can be emotionally distressing. Financial obligations may also lead to a negative burden on friends and family.


It is not uncommon to see family members playing the role of caregivers. In this role, many have reported experiencing more physical health problems, diminished emotional well-being, social isolation, and financial hardships. Caring for an individual affected by Alzheimer’s is a full-time commitment which requires much patience and dedication. Hiring a home health care worker may be the best option for many.

Treatment Options

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, but researchers are actively working on clinical trials to find new solutions to manage symptoms and hopefully someday find a cure.


Some cholinesterase inhibitors are used to treat the symptoms of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s. These are drugs that work to decrease the breakdown of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in memory, learning, attention, and more. For more severe cases of Alzheimer’s, NMDA antagonists are used which work to help individuals maintain their daily functions for longer.



This strategy focuses on targeting the accumulation of plaques and protein tangles in the brain. By employing antibodies that specifically bind to these abnormal proteins, immunotherapy seeks to facilitate their clearance from the brain, potentially slowing or even halting the progression of the disease.


Cognitive Training

This therapeutic strategy involves a series of mental exercises designed to improve specific cognitive functions such as memory, attention, problem-solving, and executive function. The exercises can range from simple tasks, like memory games or puzzles, to more complex computer-based programs tailored to individual needs.

cognitive training

Diet and Exercise

Some foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are known to have anti-inflammatory properties which are good for brain health. Some diets are also known to improve cognitive health. Exercise is known to improve brain health through increased blood flow, reduce inflammation, and stimulation of neurogenesis, or the growth of new brain cells.

diet and exercise


Live-streamed classes

Fitness/Wellness Classes

Join the GatorCare Wellness Team Monday-Thursday at 12 PM for a 15-minute live-streamed fitness or wellness class. Each day focuses on a different aspect of fitness and wellness, including cardio, strength training, meditation, and stretching. All fitness levels are welcome, and no equipment is needed!

LIve-streamed classes

Fitness class


Looking for a fun way to get active? Join Zumba, the ultimate dance fitness party! Zumba boosts your energy by combining cardio, muscle conditioning, balance, and flexibility. Zumba is free to UF Health Shands and UF employees. Classes take place at UF Health Professional Park (3300 SW Williston Rd, Gainesville, FL) on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 PM – 6:15 PM in room D102 (The Swamp). Sign up for a fun-filled workout!


Educational Resource

Support Network

Through their many initiatives and worldwide reach, the Alzheimer’s Association leads the charge in Alzheimer’s care, support, research and advocacy. Visit their website for education resources, help finding support, or to get involved with the association.

Alz association

Any Florida BLue Member 18+

Next Steps Health Coaching

Experience individualized health coaching with the Florida Blue Next Steps Health Coaching program. Health coaching is free for all Florida Blue members who are ages 18+ and is available through phone and email with a Registered Nurse Certified Health Coach.
During these one-on-one sessions, discuss health and wellness topics that matter to you.


Open to everyone

Walking Challenges

GatorCare hosts walking challenges for UF and UF Health employees (and family members!) via an online step-tracking platform called Walker Tracker. Using Walker Tracker makes it easier for you to track your daily steps and even compete against your coworkers and family to encourage you to reach your step goals. Walker Tracker can be accessed on a computer browser or via an app that is downloadable to your personal cell phone. You can sync your wearable activity-tracking device or you can manually enter your steps into the platform.

Around the Mediterranean wc

Open to everyone

A Part of Life: Preparing for End-of-Life Care

We often think of death and dying as separate from everyday life. However, it is best for the well-being of ourselves and our loved ones that we consider our end-of-life wishes now, and prepare for the possibility of taking care of another person in their end-of-life.


More Blog Posts