Today, in countries around the world, awareness is being raised about Alzheimer’s Disease and the plight of those afflicted with it. These awareness events range from forums to wine-tasting fundraisers, but in each country, local activists are coming together in order to emphasize the importance of elder care and the high cost of this debilitating disease.
Many of these events are sponsored by members of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI). ADI is an international organization that encourages education and empowers Alzheimer associations offer support to local careers. The organization is based in London and each year sponsors two main events through its member organizations: the annual, international conference on Alzheimer’s, and World Alzheimer’s Day.
By choosing one day to honor the struggles of those afflicted with dementia, the ADI unites the many different people affected by Alzheimer’s and provides a way for the world to recognize the work that these people do, which makes it easier for them to influence politicians and other leaders to support the work that ADI and other Alzheimer’s associations do. This globally coordinated day of awareness suggests to leaders that dementia is more than just memory loss and is a serious problem their citizens face. By focusing on a different aspect of the fight against dementia each year, the ADI continues to send a diverse message about the importance of elder care and the universal implications of Alzheimer’s.
This year, the message that ADI is emphasizing is the different faces that dementia takes. The theme plays well into the global nature of ADI: Alzheimer’s Disease is a serious concern regardless of race, culture, creed, or social status. Memory loss is not the only way this terminal, degenerative disease affects dementia patients. As this year’s theme emphasizes, Alzheimer’s can turn an independent, elderly, loved one into someone completely dependent on their caretaker for all their daily needs. Eventually, as the disease continues to eat away at the brain, Alzheimer’s patients tend towards mood swings and irritability, experiencing a breakdown of their language abilities and finally a complete degeneration of all bodily functions. The faces of those affected by this disease are many: the patients themselves, their children and grandchildren, and their caretakers all have their lives changed by the presence and progression of this deadly illness.
Every year, more people join in on World Alzheimer’s Day to raise awareness. The efforts of these member organizations have informed hundreds of thousands of people across the globe about the importance of elder care through concerts, symposium, and meetings with government officials. Increasingly, the media has joined in this fight against Alzheimer’s, covering many of the events hosted by Alzheimer’s organizations on this day and embracing the international relevance of advances in dementia care and treatment. Fundraisers often see increased productivity after an increase in media attention and each year on World Alzheimer’s Day, the ADI website gets more hits than the previous year. By fostering an open dialogue between those affected by dementia, the media, and politicians responsible for funding and supporting the work of Alzheimer’s organizations, World Alzheimer’s Day has drastically increased the effectiveness of Alzheimer’s associations worldwide.