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The Importance of Alzheimer's Australia

There are numerous organizations, research and study groups who are working very hard to determine the main cause of dementia, to discover its cure and to stop the worldwide increase of people affected by the disease (Approximately 44 million people have Alzheimer's or suffer from another form of Dementia).

Alzheimer's Australia (AA) is an affiliate of Alzheimer's Disease International, the umbrella organization of Alzheimer's Associations worldwide. The organization represents the growing number of Australians living with the disease. Like other focus groups, Alzheimer's Australia acts as a support group for patients with dementia, their family, friends, and carers.

But what is their specific purpose? Why does it matter that such organizations exist?

Statistics show a staggering increase in the number of people afflicted with the disease. In Australia alone, it's recorded that about 342, 800 have been diagnosed with Dementia. It's said that each week, there are 1, 800 newly diagnosed cases, roughly one person in six minutes. Mostly these number of cases are in the middle or advanced stage of Dementia.

Raising awareness of the disease is one of the advocacy of an association that tackles Dementia. To be aware means that the earlier the symptoms are recognized, the higher the chance that they will benefit from therapy or medication that slows down the progression of the disease. Let me reiterate that early detection could help slow down the disease, not cure it, because we still haven't made a breakthrough on that aspect. Their function doesn't stop in disseminating vital information about Dementia. They also take aim in wiping out the social stigma that comes parallel with being diagnosed with the disease.

Out of the 24,017,400 people (Australian total population as of January 7, 2016), 11.7% of normal, healthy, Australians would avoid spending time with people with Dementia. Ignorance of the disease makes them apprehensive on how to deal with it, let alone approach a Dementia patient, even if they're related. Organizations such as Alzheimer's Australia educates people on proper communication with Dementia patients. They offer training for carers and conduct seminars on the latest innovations or news about the disease.

Alzheimer's Australia creates events and fundraising activities to help in continuously providing support services, educational awareness, social campaigns like Dementia-Friendly Environment, and social research. Dementia-friendly environment aims to deliver a deeper understanding of dementia so that the person affected by the disease will be able to tell people about it without the fear of being judged and rejected, and where they can feel safe. Alzheimer's Australia pioneered the Dementia Awareness month which occurs every September.

Alzheimer's Australia is an association that represents people with dementia at a national level. They handle government-funded programs such as the following:

  1. National Dementia Helpline
  2. Education for Family Carers and Workers
  3. Dementia and Memory Community Centres
  4. Early Intervention Programs
  5. National Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program
  6. Public Awareness Activities, like Memory Walk and Jog, The Race Against Dementia

Memory Walk and Jog is an annual activity that started in 2008 in a place called Homebush. It has now become Alzheimer's Australia's major fundraising event. All the proceeds from the event go to the support services being offered by Alzheimer's Australia across the nation.

Supporting such events make people with dementia feel valuable, loved and supported. Through this, we are able to let them know that they are still part of the community, that we respect them as individuals with feelings and emotions, and we aim to make their life worth living.

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