World Alzheimer's Day™ 2007

No time to lose!

World Alzheimer's Day 2007 was commemorated around the globe with a great variety of colourful events and activities. The theme, 'No time to lose - people with dementia speak out!' was embraced by member associations around the world, many of whom used the day to focus on the reality of life with dementia as seen by the people with the disease themselves.

As the tradition of World Alzheimer's Day grows and ADI's membership expands we were very pleased to see the day being celebrated by many new and emerging Alzheimer associations. The Caribbean island of Aruba launched the Alzheimer's Teal Ribbon Week, a campaign which involved a well attended 'Jazz in White' Gala Dinner fundraising concert. In Lithuania, a marathon was held in honour of the day in the country's capital, Vilnius and in Armenia a memory walk and round table attracted the attention of the country's media and research community.

Alzheimer's Jamaica was fortunate to receive a visit from Keith Turner from the UK, a man living with dementia who flew to Jamaica for World Alzheimer's Day to help raise awareness of the disease. After meeting Keith at an ADI Alzheimer University, Alzheimer's Jamaica were inspired by the role people with dementia can play within an Alzheimer association and how they can help to attract the attention of the media. The association in Jamaica also received a visit from Orien Reid, chairman of ADI, which secured them 3 television interviews and provided a great start to their awareness campaign.

The participation of governments and policy makers was another prominent feature of World Alzheimer's Day 2007. In Argentina the Ministry of Health sponsored a documentary on dementia which was screened on the day; in China a public seminar in Beijing was attended by the government's vice premier and leaders of the public health ministry, and in the Philippines the president of the Republic, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, issued a presidential declaration announcing that the 3rd week of every year be recognised as National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Week.

A great surprise for the Alzheimer Society of Canada came in the form of a $1 million legacy gift from an Ottawa resident who had seen the far reaching effect dementia had on the local community.

The day was also used as an opportunity to launch new research and products to help improve the quality of life for people with dementia. In Turkey, a press conference was held to introduce a new belt to help locate patients with a tendency to wander. The launch was well covered by television and the print media.

As in previous years ADI produced materials to help members raise awareness. Brightly coloured posters, bulletins and balloons were sent to members all around the world. We are proud that the global dementia community continues to unite each year to remind the world that people with dementia have 'no time to lose'.

"I know that there are a lot of people in India with the same condition as me. I have my loving family to care for me but I know that the others might not be as fortunate. I hope the Government will support these people and help them live a respectable life."

Mrs. Urminda Mascarenhas de Lime Leitao was the first lady member of the Legislative Assembly in Goa and the founder member of the United Goans Party. She has been living with Alzheimer's disease since 2002.