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World Alzheimer's Month 2012
The first global World Alzheimer’s Month took place in September with national Alzheimer associations and likeminded groups and individuals in numerous countries extending their activities across the 30-day period. Continuing to mark World Alzheimer’s Day on 21 September gave associations the opportunity to host a pinnacle event or activity.
World Alzheimer’s Month 2012 showcased some truly creative events, developed by national Alzheimer associations, including a cardboard boat race in Gibraltar, Raffle Draw in Sri Lanka, cycle rally in India and cake sale fundraiser in Curaçao. The North West branch of Alzheimer’s South Africa visited a nursery school where children spent the day experiencing what it would be like to live in their grandparent’s shoes with the help of a puppet show, while in Gauteng Paws for People dog therapy joined the branch on a visit to a care home.
Teaming up with the online auction and shopping website eBay, the Alzheimer’s Association in the USA hosted celebrity auctions and a Give at Checkout option. In addition, the Association raised $1.1 million from 32,000 people through direct marketing and were congratulated on their important efforts by President Obama’s Administration on the White House blog. Their Go Purple to End Alzheimer’s campaign was a great success with strong celebrity and media support.
Reports from ADI’s member associations in various parts of the world, including those in Curaçao, Finland, India, Peru, Sri Lanka and Turkey, highlight the strong media coverage they also received through the month. Spominčica - Slovensko združenje in Slovenia received more media coverage than ever before and Alzheimer’s Australia reached an audience of more than 20 million people over a 19 day period as a result of the launch of their new programme, Your Brain Matters, which marks the world’s first publicly funded initiative to promote brain health as well as a healthy body and heart.
Many more associations recognised the powerful opening that World Alzheimer’s Month provides for the launch of new programmes or initiatives. In Russia, the school for caregivers of people with dementia was founded. CEAFA in Spain co-launched the kNOW Alzheimer initiative, which will detect the current concerns of those associated with dementia, including carers, pharmacists, primary care physicians and geriatricians.
The creation of national Alzheimer plans is becoming increasingly prevalent and, in Peru and Belgium these developments were tied into their World Alzheimer’s Month schedule. APEAD in Peru received strong media coverage and support of their preparations for the country’s Alzheimer’s draft law. Ligue Alzheimer in Belgium launched their Alzheimer national plan that will lead to the creation of an action plan by May 2013. Dementia Alliance Belgium was also formed to feed into the action plan. The UK government also chose 21 September to announce a new media campaign that would encourage people to speak to loved ones if they are concerned about dementia and access help.
Great recognition was paid to the outstanding efforts of carers of people with dementia. Alzheimer’s and Dementia Association of The Cayman Islands hosted a carer’s dinner with live music and prizes donated by corporate sponsors. Alzheimer’s Association Korea organised a ceremony to award four carers which was attended by 600 people and ZARDA in Zimbabwe invited people with dementia and carers to join a Morning Tea Party. Iran Alzheimer Association chose to celebrate the commitment of their volunteers by organising an awards ceremony for them, where the winner of their hugely successful photography competition was also announced.
Memory Walk maintains its status as the most popular activity with incredible awareness-raising potential. This year walks took place in many countries, including Cuba, Indonesia, Nigeria, Mpumalanga in South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago, the UK and Venezuela (right, in Caracas). The Alzheimer’s Association also continued their hugely successful Walk to End Alzheimer’s with countless walks taking place across the USA throughout the month.
Other activities hosted in a number of countries included memory screening, Alzheimer Cafés and widespread dissemination of information. The Alzheimer's Disease Association of Nigeria sent a mass SMS to medical professionals about the existence of the association and its support groups. In Singapore, Alzheimer’s Disease Association hosted three public forums in English, Mandarin and Malay covering three topics. These events, which have been a great success in recent years, attracted almost 400 participants.
Slovak Alzheimer’s Association hosted their annual conference with participation from Austria and Czech Republic while Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Association of Thailand conducted an educational day for medical and nursing students and professionals. Asociacion Dominicana de Alzheimer in the Dominican Republic hosted a public meeting in a central park while the Turkish Alzheimer Society and Foundation organised a training programme for police officers to enable them to better understand and respond to people with dementia they may encounter in their duties.
World Alzheimer’s Month and World Alzheimer’s Day allow for a great number of creative and informative activities to take place. In Germany alone, around 200 activities took place and in the Netherlands Alzheimer Nederland’s branches organised 55 activities in total, including special events at their Alzheimer Cafés, an initiative they founded fifteen years ago that has since been replicated in a number of other countries.
ADI would like to thank all of its members for their great efforts in making the first World Alzheimer’s Month such a success. ADI would also like to thank MetLife Foundation for their support of World Alzheimer’s Day and World Alzheimer’s Month. Their continuing contribution has enabled ADI and its members across the world to make the most of these important events.