September is World Alzheimer’s Month, a month to grow awareness and support for the millions who suffer from one of the most heartbreaking illnesses worldwide. The month is filled with fundraising and support events that are geared toward helping people with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their caregivers. No singular day does as much to raise awareness and advocate for support than tomorrow, Alzheimer’s Action Day.

Alzheimer’s Action Day is World Alzheimer’s Month crystalized into a single day. Whether you’re directly affected by this life-changing illness, know someone who is, or want to get involved, there’s no day better than Alzheimer’s Action Day!

The State of Alzheimer’s in America

Currently, there are more than 5 million Americans who struggle with Alzheimer’s alone. While Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, it’s not the only one. This number is expected to nearly triple by 2050, to nearly 14 million nationwide, while fatal cases of dementia are expected to quadruple by 2040. With Alzheimer’s disease and dementia being so expensive, there are concerns that it could even bankrupt Medicare if the issue goes unchecked.

But it’s not all bad news. The size and scale of the Alzheimer’s problem facing Americans has been recognized by the U.S. government. With the support of the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), the advocacy arm of the Alzheimer’s Association, the Senate recently approved a $425 million increase to Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding with the National Institute of Health.

“Every 65 seconds someone in the U.S. develops the disease. But, thanks to increased NIH funding American scientists are now advancing basic disease knowledge, ways to reduce risk, new biomarkers for early diagnosis and drug targeting, and developing the needed treatments to move to clinical testing.” — Harry Johns, Alzheimer’s Association and AIM President and CEO

Another population deeply affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia are the families and friends of those affected. These people often act as the caregivers for loved ones with dementia. Each year, caregivers provide billions of hours of care for no cost, but they still need help. Those living with dementia and their loved ones continue to need our help, either in the form of growing awareness or even a helping hand. On Alzheimer’s Action Day, you can provide both.

How Can I Get Involved?

Each year, Alzheimer’s Action Day is held on September 21. This Friday, finding a way to get involved is as simple as wearing purple and sharing why. It’s the easiest way to show your support for Alzheimer’s advocacy and awareness. Even a purple accessory is enough to get involved.

Supporting Alzheimer’s Action Day is as simple as wearing purple!

Want to take it a step further? Post your support on social media with #ENDALZ to join your post with thousands of others drawing awareness to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. If you happen to know someone living with Alzheimer’s or a family caregiver, take some time to support them. Offer to make them dinner or run an errand. With caregivers devoting so much of their time, even the simplest gestures can be remarkably helpful. Take that opportunity to make a marked difference in the life of someone you care for who could use it!

Don’t worry, you have all September to support Alzheimer’s research and awareness!

If you’re unable to take part in anything on September 21, don’t worry, you’ve got all World Alzheimer’s Month. Throughout the month, your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter will be hosting Walks to End Alzheimer’s. Join with thousands of teams and walkers around the country by raising money and awareness of Alzheimer’s by finding a walk near you! Check out the Alzheimer’s Association’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as your local chapter’s accounts, for more ideas to get involved.

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An Alzheimer’s disease or dementia diagnosis changes the life of both the patient and everyone whose life they touch. With the wide-reaching effects of this debilitating illness, it’s going to take all of us chipping in to support those whose lives have been leveled by Alzheimer’s. On Alzheimer’s Action Day, you have the perfect opportunity to grow awareness, advocate, and support those who really need it!

Special thanks to our friends at the Alzheimer’s Association - Greater Pennsylvania Chapter for their help in research and resource gathering for this article!