Causes for awareness

September includes World Alzheimer's Day and National Women's Health and Fitness Day

World Alzheimer’s Day

The APA Office on Aging is the focal point for APA activities pertaining to aging. Its overarching mission is to promote the application of psychological knowledge to issues affecting the health and well-being of older adults. The office provides consultation, information and referral on aging issues to: APA entities, psychologists, other professionals, policymakers and the public. The office establishes linkages with health and aging organizations to work cooperatively to address the needs and support the strengths of older adults, their families and caregivers, and advocates for the inclusion of geropsychology research and practice as an integral part of these endeavors.

According to the 2009 World Alzheimer’s Report, 36 million people worldwide are living with dementia and as the world’s population grows older, this number will continue to increase. The numbers are expected to double every twenty years with predictions of 115 million people affected by 2050. Key findings from the 2011 report include:

  • Dementia diagnosis provides access to a pathway of evidence-based treatment, care, and support across the disease course. 

  • Perhaps as many as 28 million of the world’s 36 million people with dementia have yet to receive a diagnosis, and therefore do not have access to treatment, information and care. 

  • The impact of a dementia diagnosis depends greatly upon how it is made and imparted. 

  • Evidence suggests that when people with dementia and their families are well prepared and supported, initial feelings of shock, anger and grief are balanced by a sense of reassurance and empowerment. 

  • Earlier diagnosis allows people with dementia to plan ahead while they still have the capacity to make important decisions about their future care. 

  • Early therapeutic interventions can be effective in improving cognitive function, treating depression, improving caregiver mood and delaying institutionalization. (Alzheimer’s Disease International, 2011).

World Alzheimer's Day (Sept. 21, 2012) is an opportunity to raise international awareness about Alzheimer's and other dementia diseases and the need for more education, support and research. The 2012 World Alzheimer’s Report will be released after this issue of Women’s Psych-E is published. To view the 2011 report, please visit the World Alzheimer’s Report (PDF, 1.1MB) webpage.

In 2010, under the direction of APA President, Dr. Carol Goodheart, a user-friendly online Family Caregiver Briefcase was developed to help psychologists and other health professionals assist family caregivers through individual and organizational practice, research, teaching and community service. To learn more, please visit the Family Caregiver Briefcase webpage.

International Alzheimer’s Association. (2011) World Alzheimer’s report 2011: The benefits of early diagnosis and intervention (PDF, 1.1MB). Retrieved online Aug. 7, 2012.

National Women’s Health and Fitness Day

On Sept. 29, women and girls are encouraged to participate in National Women’s Health & Fitness Day, the nation’s largest annual health promotion event for women of all ages. The program focuses attention on the importance of regular physical activity and health awareness for women. National Women’s Health & Fitness Day will be part of a new national health observance, National Women’s Health & Fitness Week, to be held annually in the last week in September.

To learn more about National Women’s Health and Fitness Day, please visit the webpage.