This Sunday, September 21, is World Alzheimer's Day. There are many U.S. Alzheimer's agencies that are sponsoring walks, strolls, food sales and seminars as fundraising and awareness events. Our Alzheimer's has been focusing on the Alzheimer's Quilt project and of course, Alzheimer's and dementia are a year around focus for us here on OurAlzheimers.com.
It's always amazing to me how the Internet contributes to these efforts. Because of this Internet site, I've was able to review, for a large audience, Richard Taylor's book, "Alzheimer's from the Inside Out." Through that experience, I've had the honor of having a bit of dialogue with Richard, via e-mail, and now it looks as though he will make it to my area to speak about what it is like to live with the disease.
Still, my gut feeling has been that this is a global issue isn't as developed as it should be.
That feeling of global involvement changed for me via the Internet, as well. A few months ago, I signed up for the e-mail list of the Bangalore Chapter of Alzheimer's & Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), a registered non-profit organization dedicated to care, training and research on Alzheimer's.
Dr. Priyamvada Muddapur spearheads this movement. I'd like share an excerpt from Dr. Muddapur's e-mail that he distributed to help publicize their "Masked Memory Walk." I thought it may help many U.S. readers feel the global reach of this disease, and be more aware of the need to follow worldwide research.
From Dr. Muddapur's release:
"Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia among the elderly. Today in India, 3.2 million people are affected. But, as in developed counties, effective care systems for dementia are woefully lacking. In Bangalore, where the number of dementia patients is estimated to be more than 30,000, there are no support systems to take care of them.
The awareness about dementia is lacking among our people. Moreover, a social stigma is attached to it. In India, mostly the family members have to take the full burden of caring the patients. Professional caregivers are difficult to find and institutional care support systems are also woefully lacking.
The Bangalore Chapter of ARDSI is striving to create the necessary awareness and build appropriate care systems for the patients and caregivers. Every year, 21st September is observed as World Alzheimer's Day. In Bangalore, to mark World Alzheimer's Day, we organize the Masked Memory Walk to create awareness of the disease. The event will mobilize large numbers of Alzheimer's patients, their caregivers, elders, youngsters and socially conscious public..."
When I think of the dedication of Dr. Privamvada Muddapur and his colleagues, and how far they have to go to truly raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease in the densely populated country of India, it takes my breath away. Many would say it's nearly impossible to change cultural views.
We here in the States have made progress in changing the way Alzheimer's is viewed - I don't believe I've heard it joked about as "old timers disease" for awhile - but we still have a long way to go. We need to get people thinking about how they can help those who already have the disease, and their caregivers, live a better quality life.
And the great country of India will progress, as well, with their campaign to raise awareness, because of the dedication of people like Dr. Muddapur and his organization.
Let's all take a time on Sunday to remember those who struggle with the disease and to participate in an event if we can. Let's help make World Alzheimer's Day a truly global awareness day.
Published On: September 18, 2008