An Americas-wide campaign launched today by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) aims to get people talking more comfortably and openly about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Today, 1 September, marks the beginning of the month of awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. ‘Let’s Talk About Dementia’ is based on the understanding that talking about dementia helps tackle the stigma, normalizes language and encourages people to find out more about the disease and seek help, advice and support for it.
ADI and PAHO are working to deliver the joint dementia awareness campaign for the Region of the Americas this month, as part of the PAHO regional Plan of Action on Dementia (2015-2019).
The campaign, with materials available in 5 languages, encourages that often-difficult first conversation and then aims to demystify dementia and to get people talking; through discussion and conversation, come better planning and support.
PAHO Director Dr. Carissa F. Etienne says the first step to addressing stigma around dementia is having a conversation:
The lack of knowledge about dementia and how an affected person might behave has led to stigma being associated with the disease. This campaign will focus on increasing conversations around dementia everywhere, as talking is often the first step to awareness, understanding and breaking barriers to diagnosis and care.
ADI’s member associations in the Americas and PAHO country offices will collaborate to deliver the campaign, which will engage the general public and also targets doctors and other primary health care practitioners to raise awareness.
Alzheimer’s Disease International CEO, Paola Barbarino, said: “We need to get people talking more comfortably about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Dementia is one of the most significant global health and social care crises in the 21st century, with someone developing it every 3 seconds, but the stigma that surrounds it, and a lack of available treatments, means people delay talking about it and delay seeking advice and support, losing valuable time.
On World Alzheimer’s Day, 21 September, ADI will launch our World Alzheimer Report on global attitudes to dementia, based on a survey of almost 70,000 people across 155 countries and territories. A key finding in that survey shows that 95% of general public respondents believe they will develop dementia in their lifetime. We must break through the stigma and get people talking openly about dementia to plan well, to access support and even to participate in research.”