September is World Alzheimer’s month. Wear a purple ribbon to show solidarity with people with dementia and their carers. The theme this year is Dementia: a journey of caring.
World Alzheimer’s Month is an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge stigma. Alzheimer’s associations across the world will focus their activities on the care required by people with dementia. Zimbabwe Alzheimer’s Association (ZARDA) will be holding various activities during September.
Having a globally coordinated awareness Month and Day sends a strong message to governments and policy makers. In addition, by focusing on a different message each year, the month can be used to educate and challenge people’s misconceptions about dementia.
What is dementia?
Dementia is a progressive, degenerative brain disorder that affects memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. Dementia knows no social, economic, ethnic or geographical boundaries and affects people across the globe. As dementia progresses, individuals affected need care with all aspects of daily life. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and accounts for up to 65% of all cases and is caused by brain tissue changes.
International studies make it clear that dementia occurs in every country of the world. Dementia affects one in 20 people over the age of 65 and one in five over the age of 80. Worldwide there are an estimated 35.6 million people with dementia. By 2050 the number will rise to over 115 million.
The total estimated worldwide costs of dementia were US$604 billion in 2010!
Recognition of the early symptoms of dementia
Dementia is surrounded by stigma and myth. Many people see the early symptoms of dementia as a normal consequence of ageing. Dementia is not a normal part of aging. Recognising the symptoms of dementia is the first step towards receiving a diagnosis which aids understanding and can help to reduce the anxiety of people with dementia and their family and friends.
ZARDA provides support and information about Alzheimer’s and other related disorders. They also run support groups for carers and an Art Therapy Group for people with dementia and provide carer training and counselling.
ZARDA plays a major role in creating awareness of dementia. Their main aim is to reduce stigma through knowledge and understanding of this terrible disease. Dementia not only affects the person themselves, but also impacts greatly on families, carers, communities and societies on a local, national and international scale.
During September, ZARDA will be holding various events in Harare, so find out more and support their efforts to help all dementia sufferers and their carers. For information about events, please check Facebook – ZARDAHARARE, email email@example.com or call 0779 714 905