World Alzheimer's Day™ - September 21, 2010

Dementia. It's time for action!

It was time for action around the world on World Alzheimer's Day 2010 with Alzheimer associations working tirelessly to encourage members of the public and key decision makers to take action to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers.

Since 1994, ADI's member associations and other individuals and organisations across the globe have organised and taken part in a variety of events on 21 September to raise awareness of dementia and advocate for better services in care and support. This year was no exception with Alzheimer associations again demonstrating their ability to develop new and refreshing awareness-raising activities that command attention and call for change.

Memory Walk™, spearheaded by the Alzheimer's Association in the USA, has become a key feature of World Alzheimer's Day in many countries. This year, Zimbabwe Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Association facilitated their walk in conjunction with Island Hospice and welcomed participants of all ages.

Alzheimer associations worldwide recognise the benefits to be gained by releasing a new publication on World Alzheimer's Day. Alzheimer's Australia used their Dementia Awareness Week to host a national launch of three new publications, Worried About Your Memory for consumers, No time like the present: the importance of a timely dementia diagnosis for general practitioners, and the World Alzheimer Report 2010. The Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Society of India hosted the National Dementia Summit to launch its report, Dementia India, calling for the Indian government to improve services for people with dementia and carers across the country. Alzheimer's Disease Association in Singapore used the day to launch a new educational video, Journey with Grandpa, which was produced by young people and aims to help children and adolescents understand dementia better.

Media coverage is a major facet of any Alzheimer association campaign and allows audiences who would not otherwise be aware of the support available to see what services they could benefit from. A huge amount of media coverage was received, both locally and nationally. The Greek Association of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias and Alzheimer's Australia received the added benefit this year of having their own television promotion on World Alzheimer's Day. The association in Greece were given a television and radio spot on both local and national stations and Alzheimer's Australia, for the first time, had a national advertisement aired. The purpose of the advert, entitled There's a difference, was to inform people of the differences in memory problems they should look out for and direct those who had concerns to the association's National Dementia Helpline.

The emphasis in a number of countries on World Alzheimer's Day this year was on recognising those who have shown a commitment to improving the lives of people with dementia. In Switzerland, eighteen of Association Alzheimer Suisse's twenty-one local chapters organised award ceremonies to distribute Focus-prizes, which were presented to individuals or groups who had made a difference to the lives of people with dementia in their communities. In China, Alzheimer's Disease Chinese presented Excellence in Home Caring of the Elderly awards to eight family carers from different regions of the country. The association's chapters nominated each award-winner and the event assisted in raising awareness of the necessity for improved dementia care services.

Lobbying for better service provision is at the heart of many association's activities and this year saw some encouraging developments. Iran Alzheimer Association received news from the Ministry of Education that they had been granted permission to distribute brochures about dementia to families in the country, starting in Tehran. They government has also asked the association to train health care practitioners. Deutsche Alzheimer Gesellschaft in Germany took part in a press conference run by the country's Ministry of Senior Citizens on 20 September and, the following day, played an active part in the Ministry of Health's conference.

ADI would like to congratulate all members and individuals who took part in World Alzheimer's Day 2010 on their increasingly successful events and highlight the determination and tireless efforts they continue to put into making World Alzheimer's Day a success on a local, national and international level. We are grateful to MetLife Foundation for their support of World Alzheimer's Day 2010, which has helped ADI and our members to broaden the reach of both national and international campaigns.