Many Ways to Mark National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

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by Hawken Miller |

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Every November since President Ronald Reagan’s proclamation in 1983, Americans have been partaking in National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

These next 30 days will be an opportunity for people to honor the progress made toward understanding and treating the disease while raising money for research and care. It also recognizes caregivers, family, clinicians, and the more than 6 million patients living with Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) offers a number of ways to participate in this year’s awareness month.

The AFA is asking that interested individuals help increase public education of Alzheimer’s disease on social media by downloading and sharing its infographic, changing their Facebook cover photo and profile frame, and posting a selfie.

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“Alzheimer’s disease is a growing public health crisis, and solutions start with people being aware of, and understanding, the problem,” according to an emailed statement from the organization provided to Alzheimer’s News Today. “Alzheimer’s Awareness Month is a time to highlight Alzheimer’s impact here in America and around the world, the importance of delivering greater resources and support for the fight against Alzheimer’s and families affected by it, and steps individuals can take to be proactive about their brain health,” AFA stated.

Beyond bringing awareness to the virtual world, there are a number of in-person ways to participate, including holding a community fundraiser, getting a free memory screening as part of AFA’s National Memory Screening Program — which has screened more than 5 million people so far — and wearing the organization’s color, teal.

On Nov. 4, 350 buildings in all 50 states will be lit in teal for the eighth consecutive year. Individuals also are encouraged to light up their homes in the same color.

An in-person walk on Oct. 30 in Babylon, New York, will kick off the AFA’s Alzheimer’s Walk in the Park 2021, which will last until Nov. 30. Virtual walks around the nation will raise money to fund daily virtual art, music, dance, and exercise classes, caregiver training, educational resources, and memory screenings to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s.

On Nov. 1, the Alzheimer’s Association kicked off a new national communications campaign called “Hopeful Together,” which will encourage conversation within families about cognitive concerns to ensure early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Association partnered with the Ad Council and Content+ to produce public service announcements airing throughout November that tell the story of three families who sought early diagnosis once cognitive concerns were brought up. More information, including tools, discussion, guides, and information on the importance of early detection is available on the campaign’s website, also available in Spanish.

Throughout 2021, the Alzheimer’s Association will be hosting its annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s fundraising event in more than 600 communities nationwide. While some walks have already occurred this year, others are upcoming, including the walk on Nov. 20 in Miami, Florida.

The Alzheimer’s Association is encouraging those who don’t want to walk in person to join its Walk From Home event through the Walk to End Alzheimer’s mobile app, which unlocks the ability to track miles walked, view fundraising goals, and post progress on social media. An augmented reality Promise Garden, which represents the participants’ connection to Alzheimer’s disease through a flower-shaped sign, is available through the app.

Participants who raise $100 or more will be sent an official Walk to End Alzheimer’s T-shirt. That goal must be reached within four weeks before a walk to receive it on walk day.