The Longest Day of the Year - Time to Make a Difference for Alzheimer's Disease
Posted by Donna Mae Scheib on July 18, 2019
The Longest Day of the Year – Time to Make a Difference for Alzheimer’s Disease
Many of you are aware that June 21st is Summer Solstice, the first day of summer, and the longest day of the year. But what you may not know is that the Alzheimer’s Association has declared The Longest Day® to bring awareness of Alzheimer’s disease to the public each year.
Why was this day chosen?
Perhaps it is because, for those who are impacted by Alzheimer’s, each day of their lives often feels like the longest day.
The Fight Against Alzheimer’s
So, specifically, on this day, people throughout the world engage in many different events to raise funds for Alzheimer’s research. They also participate in any number of events to honor and show their support of those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Not only are these events purposeful for the Alzheimer’s Association and individuals afflicted with dementia, but they can be uplifting and fulfilling for the participants who join together to truly make a difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
A Global Epidemic
The involvement on the longest day is global. That’s also fitting since Alzheimer’s disease is considered a global epidemic. Approximately, 50 million people the world over are living with dementia today. And by 2030, it is projected that there will be 74 million people worldwide living with some form of dementia. This year alone, the annual global cost of caring for dementia will be over $800 billion dollars.
Looking Strictly at the United States – The Impact of Alzheimer’s Today
- About 5.7 million Americans are currently living with dementia
- Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States
- More than 16 million friends and family members provide some type of care to those individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the United States
What are some ways you can join in the fight against Alzheimer’s Specifically on the Longest Day?
Donate to the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association will use the donations to give benefits to those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. 100% of the monetary donations offset face-to-face support and online educational programs. These include such things as online message boards, in-person support groups in communities of those facing the disease, and a free nationwide 24/7 Helpline offering information and referrals.
Donations also go toward promising worldwide research initiatives. For example, the Alzheimer’s Association provides hundreds of millions of dollars annually to nearly 3,000 scientific proposals to help create critical advancements.
Additionally, the association brings the global research community together to tackle common challenges such as the first new diagnostic guidelines for Alzheimer’s developed in nearly 30 years.
Host an event, join an event in your area or volunteer to help out
There are many ways you can help out on that day.
Hosting an event
The Alzheimer’s Association website describes how to host your own event. There are various categories to consider with each category broken down with many suggestions. These categories include:
- Exercise – You could get a group of people together for an exercise class. Consider outdoor exercises that are safe for seniors, water aerobics, tai chi, or a walk through a neighboring park or nature preserve.
- Sports − Did your loved one enjoy golfing, dancing, fishing, etc.? Host a golf tournament, a local dance recital, or fishing tournament where the proceeds will go directly towards the Alzheimer’s Association.
- Games − Whether it’s a bridge, bingo, or any number of board games or cards, a game night fundraiser can be the perfect option to help you raise money for The Longest Day. Another idea is to set up different game stations and rotate through the fun games. Throw in some fun prizes and refreshments, and everyone will feel like a winner!
- Parties − Many local senior living communities host small parties or events that those with Alzheimer’s disease and their families can attend. Often, there are cookouts planned with engaging entertainment.
- Hobbies − Choose your loved one’s favorite hobby or yours and plan an event around that. If baking is a favorite, then perhaps hold a bake sale or host a dinner. If reading is a top choice, then listen to a book on tape with a group of people or host a book club. If it’s gardening, then plant some vegetable seeds or flowers, add a birdhouse, and enjoy the outdoors.
- Arts − Whether your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or you love anything to do with the arts: arts and crafts, dancing, singing, music, or theater, you could host a themed party in their honor, take a class together, attend a concert or performance, visit an art gallery, etc. Another idea is to have an outdoor movie night or hire an artist-in-residence to teach a painting or pottery class.
There is also a place on the website for you to request more information to help you with the planning of an event is you choose to go that route.
Join an Event in Your Area
If you prefer not to host an event, you can start or join an existing team. Many people invite family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to participate. Or you can also join in someone else’s festivities. There are local teams listed on the site to expedite this process for you to select how you want to be involved.
Another idea is to choose an activity that you or your loved one with Alzheimer’s enjoys doing. Perhaps it is a hobby, game, sport, or outing of some sort. Or maybe invite them to a meal with their favorite foods or take them out to a preferred restaurant. Regardless of the activity, your loved one will feel included, special, and loved.
Volunteer to Help Out
You can consider contacting any local senior center to see if they have plans for this day. Then, you can ask how you can help. Or you can connect with a local or state Alzheimer’s Association and see what might be needed.
What are some other significant impacts of the Alzheimer’s Association?
The Alzheimer’s Association targets the passage of landmark legislation. One example is the National Alzheimer’s Project Act. This act mandates the creation of a national plan to combat Alzheimer’s disease. The association also helps secure funding from the federal government. The Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, which is the advocacy branch of the association, along with a nationwide network of advocates helps obtain and increase its budget each year. This enables them to have access to hundreds of millions of dollars so their efforts can be expanded. Another aspect of the association is to recruit advocates at the national level. In this way, the ongoing need for Alzheimer’s care, pertinent education, and valuable research can be heard at every level of the government (Alzheimer’s Association website).
The longest day of the year is a day set aside to make a global impact in fighting Alzheimer’s disease and at the same time offer comfort and support to those afflicted with dementia and to raise much-needed funds to promote advancements through the Alzheimer’s Association. There are many ways for individuals to participate. Whatever action you elect, together, we will be more equipped to fight Alzheimer’s. How will you spend June 21st, the longest day of the year?
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