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World Alzheimer’s Month: When is it and what is the theme this year?

Bruce Willis’s family shared his dementia diagnosis this year  (Instagram / Rumer Willis)
Bruce Willis’s family shared his dementia diagnosis this year (Instagram / Rumer Willis)

World Alzheimer’s Month is an annual international event, that’s always held in September and is run by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI).

The aim of the month is to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds Alzheimer’s and dementia, and it has been running since 2012, with September 21 celebrated annually as World Alzheimer’s Day. In 2023, this will be a Thursday.

Globally, there is a poor understanding pertaining to dementia and Alzheimer’s, so the work of World Alzheimer’s Month is vital in raising awareness and improving knowledge, as well as supporting those who are suffering from the disease.

Already this year, awareness has been raised by the family of Bruce Willis, who shared the actor has been diagnosed.

On the eve of World Alzheimer’s Month, a nutritionist has shared that you can reduce your risk of being diagnosed with dementia by cutting down on sugar. Patrick Holford told the Daily Record on Friday: “The three most important changes to what you eat, that probably reduce a person’s future risk for dementia by at least a third, are cutting right back on sugar and processed foods, eating fish and especially oily fish rich in omega-3 fats, and eating more vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices, rich in antioxidants and polyphenols.”

Here’s everything you need to know about World Alzheimer’s Month.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly depletes memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with the disease — those with the late-onset type symptoms first appear in their mid-60s.

It is a degenerative brain condition that affects more than 50 million people internationally and is a form of the disease dementia. Early-onset Alzheimer’s occurs between a person’s 30s and mid-60s, and is very rare.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults, occurring in 50-60 per cent of all dementia cases.

When is World Alzheimer’s Month and what is it?

World Alzheimer’s Month takes place every September, and is an opportunity for individuals, businesses, and charities to hold events and raise awareness in their communities for people who’re suffering from the illness.

Participants can get campaign materials for their event from ADI, and anyone unable to arrange their own event but keen to take part, can find events run by their National Alzheimer’s Charity and participate in those.

In the build-up to, and on the day, many Alzheimer’s and dementia associations around the world host memory walks, fundraisers, awareness-raising activities and campaigns to bring attention to those in their community that are affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.

What is this year’s theme for World Alzheimer’s Month?

The theme for this year’s World Alzheimer’s Month is ‘Never too early, never too late’ and aims to underscore the pivotal role of identifying risk factors and adopting proactive risk-reduction measures to delay, and potentially prevent, the onset of dementia. This includes ongoing risk reduction strategies for individuals who have already received a diagnosis.

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia can start years prior to symptoms.

The campaign states; “With the global number of people living with dementia expected to triple by 2050, there has never been a more urgent need to understand and respond to the risk factors associated with this condition.”

When is World Alzheimer’s Day?

World Alzheimer’s Day takes place during World Alzheimer’s Month and is on September 21 every year.

What can I do to help?

Materials for this year’s World Alzheimer’s Month campaign include a refresh campaign toolkit, as well as new, accompanying guides around organising events for awareness raising and fundraising, working with governments and political decision-makers, and a dementia factsheet, which are available in English, French, and Spanish.

You could also visit a loved-one or friend with dementia, or publicise the disease on social media.

For further information, visit the Alzheimer’s Disease International site.