June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month and today I wanted to share a little bit about some resources you can use when learning about brain health. For starters, there’s this great page by the National Institute of Aging. I also want to make space for talking about the lasting impact brain diseases like Alzheimer’s can have on families.


Take Care of Yourself

Take care of your cognitive health and please go to your health appointments regularly. This is even more important if you have a family history of brain disease. Make sure that you are consulting your doctor about your concerns and about your cognitive health.

For Loved Ones: Let it Out and Protect Your Peace

On a more personal note, I’m going to talk about my family’s history with Alzheimer’s. My grandfather passed away from it and it was hell. You’d think it would be a blessing that he survived longer than average people do after his diagnosis, but in my opinion, that extra time prolonged his suffering. So this June, I am going to be passing on two lessons that I learned to help with the pain.

The first lesson is to not keep everything inside. Find your outlet. Getting respite care through an agency can be a part of that, as can seeking guidance from a mental health professional. That outlet can be through your own social network or your own hobbies. You can even employ all of these strategies. The important thing to remember is that this journey that I went on was absolutely terrible, and however you can help relieve stress and take care of yourself will be vital in getting you through it.

The second lesson is to protect your peace. In the last few decades, dementia has been represented more and more in media. These stories are very important for creatives who have a family history of dementia to process their pain, and they are important for people who are unfamiliar with these conditions to have an accessible educational tool at their disposal. However, as someone who has experience with a loved one suffering from dementia, you do not have to watch those pieces of media if they traumatize you. I personally love the movie Coco, however I know people personally who would not be able to safely watch that movie. Do not feel bad for having to take extra steps to protect your wellbeing.

Please keep those suffering with brain diseases in mind this month. Take care of yourselves.

Written by Brigid Stakelum