What Can YOU Do? . . . with a Little Imagination, Lots!
Do you have a loved one facing Alzheimer’s disease, symptoms of dementia or other memory-related issues? Would you like to do something in your community this November to help bring attention to these issues in support of NADAM — National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and Family Caregiver Month® — helping to raise much needed funds for ongoing research?
If the answer is yes, but you’re not sure what to do or even where to begin, here’s the first step you should take: visit the official Web site of the Alzheimer’s Association, which is alz.org. You’ll not only find a world of valuable information on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia there, but you’ll also find news on upcoming events in your area that can spark ideas on how you can help — either by attending and supporting existing events or even starting your own.
Every movement, no matter how massive or modest, requires a single person to take charge, someone with the vision to advance a cause and a passion for seeing results. Don’t be daunted. It doesn’t take a world leader to plan, run, and succeed at an event; just someone willing to put in a little time. And thanks to resources like alz.org, the tools are already there.
Simply, Spread the Word
The most important activity you can participate in is simply building greater awareness. This can start in your own nuclear family at home and then spread out from there. Share the facts about the disease in simple everyday conversation. No need to get on a soapbox. Just the sharing of an impactful statistic or two is enough to get people thinking. Take a few minutes to watch and share this eye-opening video by the Alzheimer’s Association on all your social media accounts. With knowledge comes understanding and empathy, and that’s what dedicating a month of awareness is all about.
Dedicate Birthdays, Weddings and Social Events
Don’t stop there. You can turn a birthday party, sporting event, or any other activity or gathering you can dream of into an opportunity to help raise awareness and funds for the cause of defeating Alzheimer’s disease. Many people have chosen to even use their wedding day as an outreach platform for awareness, making the cause of curing Alzheimer’s disease a part of their big day. This act becomes especially emotional if someone near and dear to the couple happens to be facing such a challenge. Ask guests to make donations instead of gifts. Or, in place of giving out wedding favors, you can make a donation in honor of your guests. You can even find sample templates and invitation wordings via alz.org.
Hold a Movie Night
Host a cool November outdoor movie night this month at a park or a house in your neighborhood. Show a feature that’s related to the cause, which can educate and motivate, or just some zany comedy to lighten the mood. You can sell tickets, popcorn, and other concessions, then donate all the proceeds. Create merchandising items like T-shirts and signs to promote and market the activity; even get a local business as a sponsor, then make it a yearly event. Again, it’s all about imagination and the willingness to follow through.
Host or Join a Local Walk Next Year
The most famous event, of course, is the annual walk. The annual Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Since 1989, this inspiring event has mobilized participants of all ages and abilities to join the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. You’ll find an interactive map where you can zero-in on specific locations in the US where you can a) find a walk near you, b) register for that walk, and c) start or join a team.
Hold a Fight Alzheimer’s Tailgate Party
Perhaps you feel you’ve done the walks and want to try something new. The good news is you’re only limited by your imagination. For example, you can host a pre- or post-walk football style tailgate cookout on or near the site of the walk. In a fun and even rowdy way, as with tailgate parties, you can not only draw attention and extend awareness, but also raise additional funds by selling what you cook and donating the proceeds.
Build Your Own Walking Team
Instead of simply attending a walk, mobilize your very own team and make plans to walk together. Show up in custom T-shirts that identify you all as a unified group. It’s a simple way to not only increase results, but also to bond with extended family and friends.
Bottom line: Folks and families facing Alzheimer’s need caregivers and advocates of all kinds; people just like you. Anything we do — no matter how small! — can add vital results in building awareness, raising funds, and pushing research forward.
Turns out, there’s a lot you can do this November, and it’s time to get started!