Step up Alzheimer’s awareness efforts this September

The number of people being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is climbing every year and there is no end in sight. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that given current trends and without a major breakthrough in treatment to slow or stop the disease, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will rise from about 5 million today to about 16 million in 2050.

September is World Alzheimer’s Month and Sept. 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day. Show your support for research to treat this serious disease and support for those living with it.

  • Commit to being a sponsor or entering a team into the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s event in your community. The walks raise awareness and money for Alzheimer’s support, care and research.
  • While a large number of Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s disease or know someone who is, there is still a great deal of misinformation about the condition. Partner with a geriatrician or neurologist and host a friendly educational session about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Distribute informational flyers about Alzheimer’s/dementia and how your agency can help.
  • Family members caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease often have a more difficult burden than those caring for loved ones without cognitive difficulties. Contact a local support group for Alzheimer’s disease caregivers and offer to sponsor the refreshments for an upcoming meeting. Ask to speak briefly about the respite services and other services your agency offers to assist those caring for family members with Alzheimer’s disease at home. While there, distribute a helpful brochure about Alzheimer’s disease and how your company can help.
  • Identify a patient with Alzheimer’s disease who has been helped by your organization. Ask the patient and his or her caregiver whether they would be willing to talk with a local newspaper or television reporter about how the disease has impacted their lives. Then contact your favorite local reporter and pitch a story that ties in with World Alzheimer’s Month and puts a real community face on the disease. Be sure to make the patient’s caregiver and your agency’s clinical experts available to talk about the disease and how your agency helps the patient and his or her family cope.
  • Identify a local politician or civic group that regularly hosts community meetings and volunteer to speak about Alzheimer’s disease, how it affects families, and the work being done to try to stop the disease. Don’t forget to take along plenty of agency collateral and also let them know how your agency can help.
  • Contact your local newspaper’s editorial board and offer to write a guest editorial about Alzheimer’s disease awareness during World Alzheimer’s Month. If this request is denied, write and submit a simple letter to the editor briefly conveying the importance of Alzheimer’s awareness and Alzheimer’s care.