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The Dementia Society of America has a “message of hope”


The Dementia Society of America wants the public to better understand the progressive, fatal syndrome and send “a message of hope” to the more than 9 million Americans affected by one of the illness’s many forms.

It was Kevin Jameson’s personal experience with dementia that led him to found the Doylestown-based nonprofit a decade ago.

“I thought it was our marital problems,” he said, of his wife’s changing behavior and moods at the time.

But, with his wife’s dementia diagnosis, he learned that was not the case.

Hoping to bring greater awareness and understanding about the often misunderstood illness to those experiencing it and those caring for them, Jameson, 65, began to not only educate himself but others.

“Dementia is not just memory loss, it’s also changes in behavior, mood, personality and physical being,” Jameson explained. “The overarching thing is dementia,” which, he stresses, “is not a disease.”

Rather, he said, “it’s a syndrome, a collection of symptoms that can be caused by a number of disorders that affect the brain. A disease is pathology.”

After retiring 10 years ago from his sales and marketing career, Jameson said, “I wanted to devote myself to others,” and he turned his full attention to creating the Dementia Society of America and “helping people understand dementia.”

While people with the syndrome have significantly impaired intellectual functioning, Jameson said, one “lives with dementia…it’s not something one suffers from or is defined by. Everyone expresses it differently.”

Despite the grim outcome of dementia that currently has no meaningful cure or treatment, Jameson said, “there is progress” in better understanding the complexities of the fatal illness.

“Our number one mission is still awareness and education and helping people understand it and effectively and constructively working with families,” he said.

With public workshops, a wealth of videos, including many on YouTube, and printed educational materials, Jameson said, the DSA reaches tens of thousands of people. The society’s website has 60,000 visitors monthly, as does its monthly newsletter. It also boasts a quarter of a million social media followers. Its public service announcements are seen in every major media market in the U.S.

“We are the main dementia association in the United States and Canada,” he noted. “By getting people to hear our message, we reduce the taboo and stigma and they don’t feel they’re alone. They can talk to a doctor, call us and ask for information. We’ve just scratched the surface.”

Jameson and the rest of the DSA’s leadership team are volunteers. There’s one full-time staff member and three part-time employees.

The Dementia Society of America is located at 188 N. Main St. in Doylestown. For more information visit or call 1-800-DEMENTIA.

Some of the diseases that can cause symptoms of dementia are Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here are eight steps you can take for a healthy body and healthier brain.

1. Quit Smoking — Quitting smoking now improves your health and reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses. Free quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

2. Prevent and Manage High Blood Pressure — Tens of millions of adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure, and many do not have it under control.

3. Prevent and Manage High Cholesterol — Nearly 1 in 3 American adults has high cholesterol.

4. Maintain a Healthy Weight — Healthy weight isn’t about short-term dietary changes. Instead, it’s about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity.

5. Get Enough Sleep — One third of American adults report that they usually get less sleep than the recommended amount.

6. Stay Engaged — There are many ways for older adults to get involved in their local community.

7. Manage Blood Sugar — Learn how to manage your blood sugar if you have diabetes.

8. If You Drink, Do So in Moderation — Learn about alcohol use and your health.

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