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Alzheimer's Foundation of America Encourages Global Action on Awareness Raising
Date:9/24/2008

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the United Nations General Assembly convenes this week, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) is encouraging foreign leaders to collaborate on a global effort to advance a dialogue about minimizing the impact of Alzheimer's disease on the 26 million people worldwide currently living with the disease and those who will be affected in the future.

Eric J. Hall, AFA's president and CEO, said the increasing incidence of the disease worldwide -- expected to quadruple by 2050 -- warrants further awareness-raising on a global level, similar to the national advocacy efforts that AFA has been advancing in the United States.

As part of its outreach, AFA has been corresponding with UN delegates this week and is holding a cocktail reception for them on September 24.

"Together, we can more aggressively tackle this worldwide health crisis and optimize quality of life for those affected by this brain disorder," Hall said.

Among AFA's suggestions for collaboration on awareness-raising, it is recommending additional education about the importance of early detection and ongoing disease management, and the value of caregiver support, as well as prevention surrounding this health issue.

In addition, AFA is inviting delegates to participate in its memory screening initiative, aimed at proper detection of memory problems and education about successful aging; and its AFA Quilt to Remember, a powerful arts project that pays tribute to those affected by Alzheimer's disease. Some countries have already stepped forward on both these fronts.

Concerning memory screenings, AFA has been holding National Memory Screening Day each November since 2003. Qualified healthcare professionals at community sites nationwide provide free confidential memory screenings to those concerned about memory loss or who want to establish a baseline score; the screenings do not represent a diagnosis but individuals with abnormal scores or concerns are encouraged to follow up with their clinicians for evaluation.

This year, AFA will hold National Memory Screening Day on November 18 in the United States, and for the first time the Alzheimer's Foundation for Caregiving in Canada, a sister organization to AFA, will introduce the initiative in Canada.

The AFA Quilt to Remember marks the first grand-scale dementia-related quilt that pays tribute to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, their caregivers and healthcare professionals. Unveiled in late 2005, the collection now includes more than 100 heartfelt quilt blocks crafted by individuals and organizations across the United States.

Recently, the Quilt to Remember received its first panels from outside the United States -- from Canada and Brazil.

"The AFA Quilt to Remember shares personal stories of loved ones and spreads the message of Alzheimer's disease in a create and powerful way," Hall said. "Contributions from around the world will boost the message of the quilt to an even stronger and more global level."

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a national nonprofit organization headquartered in New York and unites more than 950 member organizations that provide hands-on programs to meet the educational, emotional, practical and social needs of families. For more information, visit http://www.alzfdn.org or call 866-AFA-8484.


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SOURCE Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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