10 Ways to Make a Difference on World Alzheimer's Day

September 21, 2010

September 21 is World Alzheimer's Day, and here's how you can get involved in the cause.

September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day, but what does that mean to you? It means it’s a great time to share newly released information with patients, get involved in charitable work, and help make a difference. Here’s how:

1. Check out and learn from the World Alzheimer’s Report 2010.

To mark the importance of the day, Alzheimer’s Disease International has released World Alzheimer’s Report 2010, which focuses on the exorbitant cost of dementia worldwide, as well as the need for policy makers and government officials to take action. Shocking findings presented in the report include:

  • Every health and social care system on Earth is significantly affected by dementia
  • Roughly 1% of the world’s gross domestic product is made up of dementia care costs
  • Dementia care would rank between Turkey and Indonesia as the world’s 18th largest economy if it were a country
  • Using conservative estimates, worldwide societal costs of dementia will have increased 85% by 2030

Access a summary of the report to learn more.

2. Support the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Ride.

Also occurring today, with more than 100,000 signatures in hand, cyclists will make their way to Capitol Hill as part of the Alzheimer’s Breakthrough Ride to deliver those signatures to Congress. The goals is to pass the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, meant to be a significant step forward in the fight against the disease. Having made their way from San Francisco, the 55 Alzheimer’s disease researcher will have biked more than 4,500 miles to raise awareness and support for the cause. Check out some photos from the ride, and become part of the movement by writing to Congress.

3. Cheer on your favorite celebrities, who are hoping to raise money and awareness.

For the entire week—in a move that can only be more successful than Celebrity Jeopardy—celebrities who make up the Alzheimer’s Association (AA) Celebrity Champions will compete on Who Wants to Be a Millionareto raise money that will benefit the care, support, and research efforts of the AA. According to ABC, contestants will include Peter Gallagher ("Covert Affairs" and "The O.C."), Victor Garber ("You Again" and "Alias"), Jean Smart ("Hawaii Five-O" and "Designing Women"), Evan Lysacek (Gold Medalist Figure Skater; “Dancing with the Stars”), Mario Cantone ("Sex and the City"), Melora Hardin ("The Office") and Melissa Rivers (“Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?”).

The AA lists the following as additional ways to get involved:

4. Check with your local Alzheimer's Association chapter to learn about events going on in your community.

5. Write to Congress.

Tell Congress to make Alzheimer's a national priority.

6. Go Casual for a Cause at work.

Encourage your colleagues to dress down at work in exchange for a small donation (usually $5) for the Alzheimer's Association. Order a free kit on how to implement this idea in your work place.

7. Participate in a Memory Walk.

Gather your friends and family for a walk to end Alzheimer's. Memory Walks happen throughout the country each fall.

8. Volunteer for a clinical trial.

Recruiting and retaining trial participants is the greatest obstacle, other than funding, to developing the next generation of Alzheimer treatments. Trials are recruiting people with Alzheimer's, as well as healthy volunteers to be controls.

9. Make a donation.

Make a tax-deductible donation to the Alzheimer's Association and support vital research and essential support programs and services.

10. Start a memory walk to move us closer to a cure.