Dementia Action Week takes place during the third week of September every year. It coincides with World Alzheimer’s Day on 21 September, which also happens to be World Gratitude Day. The two events are not officially linked but I believe it’s serendipitous that they fall on the same date.
Ever since Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s we started writing down all the things he and I felt grateful for. I did this to try and preserve his rapidly fading memories. I then found a big cardboard box and wrapped it in bright beautiful floral paper and labelled it ‘Gratitude Box’. Whenever something happened that we felt profoundly grateful for, we’d write it on a piece of paper, fold up the note and place it in the Gratitude Box. Conversely, if one of us felt down about something, we’d reach into the box and pull out one of the folded papers. Whatever we read always put the current issue into perspective and lifted our mood. Then on the evening of World Gratitude Day, we’d take it in turns to read all the bits of paper we’d amassed during the preceding 12 months. It was better than unwrapping presents on Christmas morning. I’ve kept up the tradition even though Dad has passed away.
Reminding ourselves of what we were grateful for didn’t change our immediate situation but it raised our spirits and re-energised us to continue being proactive about maintaining Dad’s quality of life despite his diagnosis. Feeling grateful generates an optimistic filter through which to perceive life. This is my interpretation of Dementia Action Week. It’s a reminder to be proactive about maintaining our optimal brain health. Our medical system encourages passive reliance on drugs, radiation or surgery. None of these options offer a cure for Alzheimer’s. The good news — as I’ve often written and spoken about before — is that our day-to-day habits and lifestyle choices can more than halve our risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This is what I’ll be speaking about from 6.30pm to 8pm on World Alzheimer’s Day — this coming Wednesday 21st September — at the Gold Coast Robina Library, 196 Robina Town Centre Drive, Robina QLD 4226. I’d love you to join me.
Click here to register for this free, lively, unmissable event!
Please forward this email to anyone who lives on the Gold Coast, Brisbane or surrounding areas and would like to learn more about Alzheimer’s and its prevention.