Today marks the ninth annual World Alzheimer’s Day where the public are encouraged to spread awareness about the progressive disease.
It is part of World Alzheimer’s Month, a month in which people are encouraged to talk about dementia.
Alzheimer’s Disease International Deputy chief executive Chris Lynch said it had become extra important to spread awareness this month due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The month is usually about raising awareness, encouraging people to talk about dementia, to seek out advice and information, to challenge some of the stigma surrounding dementia,” he said.
“This year because of the coronavirus pandemic, it has taken an even more important focus, a slightly different turn as well.”
He said Alzheimer’s Disease International had provided the 102 national associations across the world with assets and resources to help raise awareness, including posters, social media assets and press releases.
Alzheimer’s WA head of dementia practice and innovation Jason Burton said they aimed to raise awareness in Western Australia this month.
“Here in West Australia, it’s an opportunity for us to really help raise public awareness of dementia. More importantly, to start to raise understanding about what it’s like to live with dementia.”
He said that Alzheimer’s WA aimed to raise awareness in as many ways as possible.
“During the month, what we try to do is a range of different things: to get in the media, to get some marketing and advertising, to have some events.”
He said there is one important thing to remember about World Alzheimer’s Day.
“The main thing is that people with dementia can still lead a good life and as a community, if we destigmatise dementia, we become more inclusive.”
Mr Lynch said his chief aspiration for World Alzheimer’s Month this year was to get people talking about dementia in the context of our global experience of the pandemic.
“It’s vital that people with dementia don’t get left behind and it’s vital that support services and diagnosis and research don’t get disrupted too much.”
The World Alzheimer Report 2020 titled Design, Dignity and Dementia has been launched with its focus this year on the built environment and dementia-related design.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and is commonly diagnosed in the elderly. Statistics from Dementia Australia show that in 2020, nearly 459,000 people were living with dementia in Australia. Three in 10 people over the age of 85 have dementia and nearly one in 10 over 65 have dementia.
If you have any queries about dementia, call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 500 100.