September is World Alzheimer’s Month.
What, you ask? Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just have a “national” day or week – it’s actually got a “world” designation for a whole month?
That’s right. And it should, considering that according to the Alzheimer’s Association, 35 million people around the world and their families are affected by Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.
If you are not one of those people, I’ll bet that you know someone who is. The toll this illness takes on our society is ubiquitous – we see it in our workplaces, homes, healthcare systems, and places of worship. We see it when our neighbor takes her mother to the doctor and has difficulty persuading her to get in the car. We feel it when our co-worker tenses up as he excuses himself to take a personal call in the middle of a meeting. And we know what’s happening when our friend no longer attends the weekly coffee gathering because she can’t get away from the house for too long anymore.
Individuals with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers, and family members deserve a month when their courage, challenges, and fortitude are honored. Likewise, researchers and scientists who are working hard to find a cure deserve a time when the dire need for research funding and participants is highlighted. If you want to be a part of World Alzheimer’s Month, here are some things you can do:
- Strut your stuff at a Walk to End Alzheimer’s near you. I’ve been doing this for 13 years, and it’s been a great opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the disease.
- Tell ten people about Alzheimer’s disease and its impact on you, your family, and/or your community.
- Write a letter to the editor explaining why World Alzheimer’s Month should receive more attention than, say, Talk Like a Pirate Day. Sadly, many may not understand your point. But please try.
- Go to the Alzheimer’s Association’s TrialMatch website to learn about clinical trials near you. Don’t have Alzheimer’s? No worries, researchers need caregivers and healthy volunteers too.
- Contact your local Alzheimer’s Association and ask them how you can help with outreach, support, or advocacy.
- Spread the world through social media. The "End Alz" picture in this post is free to download and use as your profile picture, and #EndAlz is the official hashtag to raise awareness.
- Wear purple, the official color to represent Alzheimer’s disease. It might seem a bit abstract, but we need to work a little psychology on the masses. This way, people can’t NOT think of Alzheimer’s when they see a purple shirt, hat, or jacket; purple hair, nails, or eye shadow; or purple profile pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.
What do you say? Are you ready to strut your stuff? Tell me what you’re doing this month to help create a world without Alzheimer’s – and thank you in advance.
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