BPHC and Mayor Wu Highlight Resources Available to Residents Living with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias
BOSTON – June 30, 2023 – The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and Mayor Wu are recognizing Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month this June to draw attention to the more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer's, including 130,000 in Massachusetts, and to make residents aware of BPHC and City resources that support individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD), as well as their caregivers.
"Alzheimer's impacts so many people and families across our communities in Boston and Massachusetts," said Mayor Wu. "We are working this Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month to uplift people's lived experiences, build our public health infrastructure and ensure everyone is connected to resources and support."
BPHC works to build public health infrastructure to address Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) through specialized training and education about dementia, public awareness campaigns, improved data collection, and new linkages in care that will better support residents living with Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias, as well as their caregivers. Key to this work is addressing racial and ethnic disparities in Alzheimer’s risk through a grassroots coalition that will build connections and encourage collaboration with Black, Latinx and other priority populations. This work is funded by a CDC “Core Capacity Award” under the federal Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act.
BPHC and the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts and New Hampshire Chapter recently partnered on a public awareness campaign on social media to increase awareness of ADRD signs and symptoms and local supports available to people living with dementia and their caregivers.
“We all know someone living with or affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia that are progressive,” said Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director Bisola Ojikutu of the Boston Public Health Commission. “It is important to recognize the warning signs of early illness and to consult with a health care provider if you are worried about yourself or a loved one.”
Resources for Alzheimer’s and related dementias are also available through the City of Boston’s Age Strong Commission. Age Strong’s goal is to create an age-and-dementia friendly city where older adults can lead healthy and productive lives. They host a free Memory Café event at the BPL Codman Square Branch on the second Wednesday of each month. Memory Café’s serve as a space for older adults with memory-loss issues to meet and discuss their challenges and know that they are not dealing with them alone. Tips and information on brain health can also be found in Age Strong’s monthly issue of Boston Seniority Magazine.
Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior and is most common in adults ages 65 or older. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to others and their environment.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, older Black individuals are twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias, and older Hispanic individuals are 1.5 times as likely to have Alzheimer’s other dementias compared to older White individuals. The condition is also more common among those with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. BPHC recommends familiarizing yourself with the Alzheimer’s Association’s list of 10 Warning Signs to recognize if you or a loved one may be experiencing Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association also provides a free 24/7 helpline with information and resources at 800-272-3900.