This September, we raised awareness of one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.
Dementia is in the top ten causes of death worldwide and almost 50 million people are living with the condition across the globe. The world’s economy is set to lose $1 trillion dollars in 2018 unless dementia is tackled now. The stigma surrounding dementia exists universally and discrimination can lead to abuse and even violence. So why has dementia been forgotten?
Globally there is a lack of understanding that dementia is not a natural part of aging but a medical condition. Dementia knows no borders, affecting every country in the world. The majority of people with dementia (58%) live in low and middle-income countries, where as few as one in ten individuals receive a diagnosis. Without public awareness, people affected by dementia are being hidden away and forgotten.
“Due to the stigma, no one really wants to talk about dementia, everybody hides their person that has dementia, they hide them away.”
Kiki Edwards, Rossetti Care, Nigeria
To tackle the global dementia challenge we need to amplify the number of voices advocating and educating on dementia to build commitment and action at a national and international level. Dementia awareness protects vulnerable people, encourages risk reduction strategies and increases diagnosis.
Governments now have a responsibility to dramatically increase awareness, detection and diagnosis of dementia, by meeting targets of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Dementia Action Plan. International civil society collaboration is needed to cement recent gains, working in partnership with UN agencies, champion governments and other actors.
World Alzheimer’s Month is a campaign led by GADAA member Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI). This year’s World Alzheimer’s Month was an opportunity for organisations and individuals around the world to raise awareness, highlight issues faced by people affected by dementia and demonstrate how we can overcome them to help people live well with dementia.
For more information on World Alzheimer’s Day, held every year on 21 September, see our news story.
Visit our resources page if you would like to get involved, even after World Alzheimer’s Month. We can support with template tweets, suggested wording for internal or external comms, graphics and stats in our toolkit.