World Alzheimer's Month 2014

Dementia: Can we reduce the risk?

This year World Alzheimer’s Month focused on ways we may be able to help reduce our chances of developing dementia with the theme ‘Dementia: Can we reduce the risk?’. Alzheimer associations around the world focused campaigns on advocacy and public awareness with a packed month of activities including information provision, Memory Walks and media appearances.

During September ADI member associations used their campaigns to educate the public about dementia risk at all ages. Alzheimer's & Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) worked with school children to help disseminate the message and held street plays and workshops. Over in Mexico City, Federacion Mexicana de Alzheimer organised an activity and awareness event in the capital’s main square, which was attended by 15,000 people. Alzheimer Indonesia also focused on educating the general public with exercise and therapy events and talk shows, while Alzheimer and Related Dementia Society Nepal, who became members of ADI earlier this year, held rallies and distributed leaflets.

Many member associations used innovative ways to gain awareness, including electronic billboards in Switzerland and Indonesia, as well as using the tram system in India to educate the public. Over in Japan, the landmark towers in Kyoto and Kagoshima were lit up in their association colours to mark the campaign.

Fundraising events were also popular, with Bermuda holding a World Alzheimer’s Day African Fashion Print Show and Alzheimer Nederland organising two major national sponsored events, 2Bike4Alzheimer and the Head First Race.

The impact of dementia

For many, World Alzheimer’s Month was used as a time to reflect on the impact of dementia. The Alzheimer's Disease Association of the Philippines organised a Flight of Memories event, which encouraged people with dementia and their families to write wishes on origami cranes. For others, September was used as an opportunity to offer support, as Dementia Alliance International did with their Master Class webinars for people living with dementia, and the launch of Iran Alzheimer Association’s new caregiver guide book.

Emerging associations also used World Alzheimer’s Month as an opportunity to raise awareness. Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Association of Ghana organised a busy month of campaigning, starting with information provision and radio appearances and culminating in a successful workshop attended by officials and health professionals from the local community.

There were major achievements made in the Latin American region during World Alzheimer’s Month, with Costa Rica, Cuba and Mexico all launching national dementia plans during September. Many other members reported they had been approached to work with policy makers with a view to introduce similar plans in their country.

Close to World Alzheimer’s Day (21 September), ADI published the 2014 World Alzheimer Report, which examined critically the evidence for the existence of modifiable risk factors for dementia. The report was launched with an event in London featuring a panel discussion made up of representatives from ADI, the NCD Alliance and Bupa, chaired by Angela Rippon OBE.

A global movement

It’s thanks to the hard work and dedication of ADI’s member associations that the impact of World Alzheimer’s Month is felt at both a national and global level. Each year, more and more countries are participating in World Alzheimer's Month events and in many areas, dementia awareness is growing. September is a time for action, a global movement united by its call for change, but it is also a time to reflect on the impact of dementia, a disease that will affect more and more people as the years pass. 

We would like to thank everybody who was involved in activities and we look forward to another successful campaign next year.