UPDATED: Friday, May 3, 2013 - 3:39pm
Temple, TX — Wednesday marks the beginning of National Mental Health Awareness Month.
One of the most prevalent mental disorders is Alzheimer’s Disease.
On Tuesday, local senior care providers teamed up with Scott and White Hospital in Temple to offer a day-long clinic to address the illness.
Dewayne Nash is a medical doctor, or at least he was until he was diagnosed with a form of Alzheimer’s almost three years ago. He then had to shut his practice down.
“During my evaluation it was noted I had short-term memory issues that I really hadn’t noticed," explained Nash. "And when I had further evaluations done it appeared that I had a clear diagnosis.”
Since then, Nash has created a blog documenting his path.
On Tuesday morning, Nash talked to a crowd who are most prone to the disease: the elderly.
One of the keys to his diagnosis was self-awareness.
“I have a strong family history of Alzheimer’s disease," said Nash. "My mother and father had it. My younger brother, cousins, aunts and uncles and at least one grandparent had it. So, I was expecting something like this was going to happen to me.”
It is estimated more than five million people in the U.S. live with Alzheimer’s. More than 300,000 of them live in Texas.
The disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the country and will cost the nation an estimated 1.2 trillion dollars by 2050.
One of the ways Nash combats his illness is to keep his mind active.
“For example, I read two or three newspapers a day. I write a daily blog. I’m always researching for the blog. I do talks like this event today," said Nash.
With new technology, growing awareness and events like today’s symposium, maybe Alzheimer’s won’t be such an issue for future generations.