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Alzheimer’s Day: Breaking 7 Stigmas for Better Living

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Alzheimer's day

Introduction

September marks more than just seasons changing. It’s also World Alzheimer’s Month, and September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day. Because there’s poor understanding surrounding dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) hosts an annual campaign to raise awareness because it affects around 50 million people and their families worldwide. 

This month brings opportunity for people, businesses, and charities to hold events in their communities. The purpose of the campaign is for sufferers, caregivers, and the media to work together to bust myths and break stigmas surrounding the disease. 

Let’s take a look at some of the stigmas and how it affects a person with dementia.  

Seven Stigmas

Senior man with dementia has trouble remembering

1: People with dementia cannot take care of themselves or others

This reasoning causes feelings of frustration, disempowerment, and other bad . 

2: Having this disease is equal to suffering

People could become disheartened and believe that life is not worth living.

3: People with dementia are unaware of what is happening around them

Dementia patients could feel useless, out of control, and not willing to participate in life. 

4: Dementia patients are useless and need someone to constantly take care of them

They are often excluded from conversations, ignored, and could lead to them feeling isolated. 

5: Others assume that people with dementia are “not really here”

People often feel unacknowledged and constantly looked over. 

6: If you have Alzheimer’s disease, you will become aggressive and have ‘behaviors’

This could lead to misunderstanding and shunning for behaving differently.

7: There’s no hope if you have Alzheimer’s disease

This could lead to your loved one losing all hope if they feel that nobody else around them has hope. This often leaves people isolated and ostracized. 

Why the Need for Yearly World Alzheimer’s Day Campaigns?

Although dementia is common in the elderly, it is not a normal part of aging. Yet, it is one of the major causes of dependency among older people. Besides the psychological impact it has on the sufferer, it has a physical, social, and economic impact on families and society too. 

Yet, a huge concern for families is overcoming stigmas and 2 / 3 people around the world think that there is little or no understanding of this disease. 

The #1 reason that people suffer such stigma is that there is no Alzheimer’s cure. The behaviors associated with dementia are embarrassing and uncomfortable to see and live with. 

What Does ADI Hope to Achieve?

Since the first launch of World Alzheimer’s Day in 2012, ADI wants everyone suffering from the disease to take a proactive approach as soon as the diagnosis. By being aware that not all need to be a doom and gloom situation and that daily activities can make a difference. 

Seniors playing memory games like puzzles

How Can You Get Involved?

You can support the World Alzheimer’s Day campaign theme and messaging during September and discuss dementia issues with your friends, family, and colleagues. You can also plan your own event and get the campaign materials from ADI. But if you’re unable to run your own event, you can participate in your national Alzheimer’s charity. Or, simply spread the word on social media using #WorldAlzMonth.

A few ideas on events that you can host:

  • Alzheimer Café – Dementia patients and their carers get-together for psycho-social support. 
  • Stopping a clock – Get a famous clock in your city to halt on 21 September for a minute. 
  • Send World Alzheimer’s Day merch to local television shows and ask tv personalities to wear them while on air. Get them to highlight that there’s no Alzheimer’s cure but treatment helps people live better lives.
  • Perhaps get your mayor or president to officially declare 21 September as World Alzheimer’s Day. 
  • Schedule a public hearing or seminar discussing breaking stigmas surrounding dementia.
  • Speak to businesses in your town and see if they’d be willing to raise awareness and speak about the disease in their circle. It’s important to highlight Alzheimer’s treatment methods to evoke empathy for what people go through. 
  • You could arrange a religious or secular service to acknowledge people with dementia. A candlelight ceremony is a special way to bring awareness to this subject.
  • Host a virtual event. This alleviates the problem of the inability to attend due to time constraints or not being close enough to an event.
  • Arrange with radio stations to speak to their listeners about the disease.
  • Contact local schools and arrange a talk to raise awareness. 
  • Get in touch with businesses in large buildings and see if they’d be willing to decorate the building in matching colors, decorate with Alzheimer’s ribbons, etc. 
  • Arrange with your local newspaper to interview someone with dementia or a carer to speak about how to eliminate stigmas. 

If You’re a Carer, Why Would You Want to Host an Event?

Because this makes your job so much easier when more people are aware of the stigmas, what the effects are, and what others could do to treat people with dementia better.

What Are the Timelines?

While the entire month is World Alzheimer’s Month, September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day. It is also the day when the World Alzheimer Report 2020 was launched. On September 30, the ADI online member event for World Alzheimer’s Month takes place. 

Conclusion

While there are nearly 10 million new cases each year, making life worth living for your loved one is possible. Educating yourself and those around you is pivotal and you can do it by attending events through an Alzheimer’s Awareness charity or virtual events dedicated to World Alzheimer’s Day. 

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