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According to the World Alzheimer Report 2015: The Global Impact of Dementia, published by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), there are 46 million people living with dementia globally. Without a medical breakthrough, that number will rise to 131.5 million by 2050. Worldwide, in 2015 alone, there will be 9.9 million new cases of dementia; that’s a new case every THREE seconds.

World Alzheimer’s Day is September 21, 2015, and it’s a great time to pause and think about what you can do to make a difference. You don’t have to be a brilliant scientist or a millionaire to make a significant impact.

Here are a few ideas to consider. If you have others, please share them by posting a comment below!

Take Care of a Caregiver

  • Deliver lunch, dinner, or a plate of homemade cookies. Send a restaurant gift card, or put together a group of folks willing to take turns cooking a couple of meals each week.
  • Mow the lawn, rake leaves, or offer to help with another household task.
  • Put together a spa basket! Think bath salts, lotion, candles, lavender essential oil, comfy slippers, et cetera.
  • Offer to hold down the fort for a couple of hours to give a caregiver a much-needed break. Perhaps they’d like to go shopping, see a movie, read a book, or just relax!
  • Simply send a card to say you care and offer your support.

Volunteer Your Time and Talent

  • Spend time visiting with memory care residents.
  • Volunteer at an Alzheimer’s Association event, join a committee, help with a special project, or offer to make phone calls.
  • Form a volunteer group to make fidget quilts or comfy blankets for people living with Alzheimer’s.
  • Volunteer to provide respite care during a caregiver support group meeting.
  • Become a support group leader.

Donate or Fundraise

  • Make a monetary donation to your favorite Alzheimer’s organization.
  • Sign up for Walk to End Alzheimer’s or The Longest Day and set a fundraising goal.
  • Donate puzzles, picture books, dolls, art supplies, or CDs to a nearby memory care unit or adult day care.
  • Sign up for AmazonSmile and designate your favorite Alzheimer’s organization as your charity.

Be an Advocate

Focus on Prevention

  • Commit to walking for 30 minutes at least 3x per week.
  • Each day, replace one unhealthy item in your diet with a healthier choice.
  • Make a monthly date to get together with friends!
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

I’ve been told plenty of times that I’m wasting my energy. After all, I’m just one person can’t change the world My response to that is simple. I may not be able to change the world, but I can certainly make a positive difference – and you can too!

Here’s to World Alzheimer’s Day. May it be more than just another Monday – let’s all do a little something to further the #ENDALZ movement!