World Alzheimer's Day 2011: Guest blog by Marc Wortmann
Marc Wortmann is Executive director of Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI). He was a member of the Parliament of Province of Utrecht, working closely with various charities and voluntary organisations. Mr Wortmann was Executive Director of Alzheimer Nederland before joining ADI.
Lack of awareness is one of the major issues limiting the fight against dementia worldwide. Work continues on an ongoing basis to raise the profile of dementia using the media and lobbying - both nationally and internationally.
World Alzheimer's Day, which takes place on 21 September each year, plays an important role in raising awareness across the globe and is a key focal point in the ‘dementia calendar'.
Events around the world
World Alzheimer's Day is coordinated by Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI), the international federation of 76 Alzheimer associations around the world. Each member is the Alzheimer association in their country who support people with dementia and their families.
Each year this international collective campaign provides local and national Alzheimer associations around the world with a platform to organise media events and lobbying activities to bring dementia to the attention of governments, opinion leaders, medical professionals, and the general public.
"Faces of dementia"
The theme for World Alzheimer's Day 2011 is Faces of dementia. This year national Alzheimer associations and like-minded advocacy groups from all regions of the world are marking the day with a huge variety of events, including memory walks, conferences and seminars for a range of audiences, mass information distribution, and enjoyable events for people with dementia and their carers.
This year Hong Kong Alzheimer's Disease Association will host a carnival with interactive activities that will make for an enjoyable day whilst making information about dementia more widely available. Fundacion Alzheimer de Venezuela are already well underway with their events, which have taken place over the past two months, culminating on World Alzheimer's Day.
Live concerts will also be taking place, hosted by associations including Iran Alzheimer's Association and Lanka Alzheimer's Foundation (Sri Lanka). World Alzheimer's Day draws on the creativity of Alzheimer associations with innovative events such as awareness-raising wine tasting fundraisers (Alzheimer's Family Support Group in Bermuda), Alzheimer's picnic (Polish Alzheimer's Association), and a tandem bicycle tour (Alzheimer Nederland, The Netherlands).
The cost of Alzheimer's disease
There are currently more than 36 million people living with dementia worldwide and the global cost of the disease was estimated at US$604 billion in 2010. Our recently released World Alzheimer Report 2011, focusing on the benefits of early diagnosis and intervention, highlights the importance of allowing people with dementia to receive a timely diagnosis and access to a good standard of services in care and intervention, both of which are possible.
We hope that, wherever you are this World Alzheimer Day, you will play your part in what promises to be an enjoyable and hugely important international campaign. For more information about events in your country visit our website.
Read more on Alzheimer's disease in ADI's "I CAN! I WILL!" idea library