My dad is a cancer survivor, but the effects of his intense chemo, radiation and stem cell transplants left him with a slew of other ailments.

Not long after my dad’s last stem cell transplant, we noticed a huge shift in his personality, and suddenly, he wasn’t the man we knew him to be. He became very confused and combative, both of which have increased substantially in the last year. My dad prefers to sit alone in a dark room or sleep all day. Dad has good days and bad days, but the bad days are very bad.

My dad was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and as you can imagine, I'm soaking up information not only about this horrible disease but how the Alzheimer's Association can help families like mine. The Alzheimer’s Association has helped me understand the stages of Alzheimer’s and what things to expect and look out for.

They’ve also shared resources for caregiver support and checked in with me from time to time to see how my dad is doing and if there are any ways they can offer support to my family.

Of course, I want to pay it forward and make sure listeners know about these resources, as well as important ways to support brain health. June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, so now's a great time to make sure you and your family are embracing healthy habits as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

To support long-term brain health, the Alzheimer's Association encourages us all to:

1) Embrace a generally healthy lifestyle. Your body's systems are all connected, so following the Mediterranean or DASH diet, exercising regularly and getting an appropriate amount of sleep will help your brain, as well as other important organs.

2) Stay socially and mentally active, whether that's learning a new language, practicing a musical instrument, finding new or different ways to connect with family and friends or something else that interests you.

3) Manage your stress. Not only can prolonged stress hurt your mental health, but it also can increase your risk for Alzheimer's disease.

These are just a few of their many tips. Click here for more tips. Click here to learn more about local services and how you can get involved.

Living with Alzheimer's Disease and Supporting Brain Health