World Alzheimer's Day 2011 Global Report

Faces of dementia

The global dementia movement, coordinated by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), turned out in full force this year to mark World Alzheimer’s Day on 21 September. Alzheimer associations, individuals and health care groups united to provide a variety of activities, from the enjoyable to the educational.

A key feature of World Alzheimer’s Day 2011 was the creation of new events, services and activities offered by local, regional and national Alzheimer associations. The Lanka Alzheimer’s Foundation in Sri Lanka and Alzheimer Scotland both observed the opening of new dementia centres. In Sri Lanka the new dementia service centre will provide a range of facilities including day care, a memory clinic, family counselling, and training for professional and family carers. Alzheimer Scotland’s new Dementia Research Centre will commission clinical and scientific research and attract external research funding as well as holding a brain tissue bank.

Associations around the world extended their activities this year to encourage younger generations to engage with the dementia cause. Alzheimer’s Pakistan hosted an Interschool Sports Festival and World Alzheimer’s Day Basketball Challenge, while Alzheimerforeningen in Denmark organised a “flashmob” event, promoting a public gathering of individuals at Copenhagen Central Station via mobile phone.

A host of national Alzheimer associations, including those in Australia, China and Slovak Republic, used the day to launch new publications for family caregivers or aimed at key decision makers in their country.

Alzheimer's Association Korea in South Korea hosted their first Alzheimer’s Café, while Alzheimer’s South Africa introduced a Snoezelen room for the first time at a care service centre. The popularity of this facility has ensured that it will now be a permanent feature at the centre.

The theme for World Alzheimer’s Day 2011 was 'Faces of dementia', promoting recognition of the signs of the disease itself as well as those who commit their time and efforts to improving the lives of people with dementia and their carers on a local, regional, national and international level. In keeping with this theme the Alzheimer’s Association marked the first World Alzheimer’s Month, which will be fully implemented around the world from 2012, by sharing stories of people with dementia to encourage others to take action and join their End of Alzheimer’s Starts with Me initiative. Alzheimers New Zealand launched a new website with the aim of humanising dementia, allowing individuals to share their experiences and thoughts.

More than 65 countries worldwide took part in World Alzheimer’s Day 2011 and the ever-increasing involvement and activities continue to highlight the huge importance of this very popular day.