September is World Alzheimer's Month™, an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge stigmas about dementia, which affects millions. It unites people with dementia, caregivers and family, medical professionals, researchers and advocates from all around the world. The campaign is an initiative of the Alzheimer's Disease International, which also releases a yearly World Alzheimer's Report.
World Alzheimer's Report 2016
The 2016 World Alzheimer's Report reports the following staggering statistics:
- Every 3 seconds, someone in the world develops dementia.
- Over 46 million people are living with Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia. It will almost triple to 131.5 million by 2050.
- The global economic cost will reach over $1 trillion over the next three years.
- Dementia is hugely underdiagnosed. In high income countries, only 40-50% of people living with dementia have been diagnosed; in middle and lower income countries, diagnostic rates are likely only 5-10%. (Read why patients are not getting a timely diagnosis)
- There are still no treatments that alter the course of dementia.
Dementia - Related Events Around the World
There have been thousands of activities across 36 countries this month, including:
- The Alzheimer’s Disease International African Regional Conference adopted the World Health Organization Call for Action, outlining 11 action items to raise the priority of dementia.
- People in Ikoma City, Japan heard how to make communities more dementia friendly.
- A giant light sculpture marked World Alzheimer's Month in New Zealand.
- Alzheimer Scotland unveiled the world’s first Alzheimer’s inspired tartan, created to honor the millions of people with dementia worldwide and to raise funds.
Alzheimer's Disease International identifies a common goal to help the person live their life with dementia:
"The goal of 'living well with dementia' is achieved when care is person-centered, seamless and coordinated, and when the needs of people with dementia, and their caregivers, are anticipated and met in a timely fashion throughout the course of the condition."
People living with dementia, are LIVING - not fading away! Having better access right from the start, with a timely diagnosis and education for the person and the family, then followed by ongoing support from family and friends, who do not turn away due to stigma, combined with appropriate support from health care providers, will allow the person with dementia to continue living life as best as possible. In honor of World Alzheimer's Month, share your messages about dementia or this article with the hashtags #WAM2016 #RememberMe. Together, we can make a difference!
Want a visible way to start conversations about dementia, to reduce stigma and increase understanding? Check out our 'The Heart Does Not Forget" t-shirts and wear it to honor those living with dementia.