GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Alzheimer’s is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and North Carolina. Now, members of the Alzheimer’s Association are working to spread awareness about the disease and its effects.

The reason this month is big in terms of getting the word out is that June is Alzheimer’s and brain awareness month.

“The health of the brain and the health of the body are connected. What’s good for the heart is good for the brain,” said Coury O’Donoghue, the Director of Program Services for the Alzheimer’s Association of Western Carolina.

Alzheimer’s is a disease-causing impairment to the brain ultimately leading to an attack on the neurons that help with memory and other functions.

“Alzheimer’s is the six-leading cause of death in the country and in North Carolina,” said O’Donoghue.

O’Donoghue explains the work they’re doing is all to help educate people on what the disease really does to someone.

“What we know now more than ever before is we can increase our resiliency in the face of illness, and we can minimize our risk for illnesses like cognitive impairment.”

She notes that through different activities and brain exercises that we can keep our minds sharp. With June being the start of Alzheimer’s and brain awareness month, the non-profit has a week of programs planned.

“We know that, think about the brain as a muscle and we know that the more we keep it active, the more we engage it, the more we challenge it the stronger it is, and we can actually nurture our communication pathways in the brain.”

She says that although there is still a lot of unknown when it comes to the disease, research and other studies are making great strides. Saying that overall, it’s about ending that stigma that may come attached to the word Alzheimer’s

“People traditionally have been scared of talking about it. There’s still a stigma associated with it, there’s also many health disparities and health inequities among our populations,” said O’Donoghue.

The schedule for the week of activities will go as follows:

  • Part 1: Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body Overview – June 7
  • Part 2: Mindfulness Matters – June 8
  • Part 3: Med Instead of Meds: Eating the Mediterranean Way for Better Health – June 9
  • Part 4: Gentle Yoga (seated) -June 9
  • Part 5: Engaging with Art – June 10
  • Part 6: Mediterranean Cooking Demonstration – June 10
  • Part 7: Gentle Yoga (Mat) – June 11

Those who would like to take part in the week can click here. Scroll down and look for the section titled “Healthy Brain, Healthy Body, Healthy You Symposium.”