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5 Must-Know Organizations during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

Alzheimer’s affects people beyond those who are diagnosed. More than 16 million people within the United States provide care for their loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia. 

Here are some nonprofit organizations within the Maryland and D.C. area that take action against Alzheimer’s through advocacy, research and education that you could support. 

1. BrightFocus Foundation – Clarksville, MD

The BrightFocus Foundation commits itself to supporting research for degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration and glaucoma. Their Alzheimer’s Disease Research (ADR) program has funded almost $140 million towards research in the fields of biology, genetics and epidemiology. Recent projects include research conducted towards the connection between Alzheimer’s and the COVID-19 virus. In addition to research efforts, they routinely publish lifestyle tips such as driving strategies and room guides for those struggling with degenerative conditions. 

2. Alzheimer’s Association (AFA) – Washington, D.C.

Woman holding written message and change
Photo by Kat Yakuwa from Unsplash

After 30 years of caregiver support and pioneering extensive research within the medical community, the Alzheimer’s Association leads groundbreaking dementia care, support and research. Their licensed social workers operate the National Toll-Free Helpline (866-232-8484). Their National Memory Screening Program has provided over 5 million Americans with free memory screening across the country. AFA also hosted a Virtual Walk, which lasted all of November and raised $133,664.

3. Dementia Society of America – Washington, D.C.

Woman in wheelchair in front of neighborhood
Photo by Steven Hwg from Unsplash

The Dementia Society of America’s mission underscores the gravity of education. As a critical step to understanding the challenges and solutions surrounding Alzheimer’s and dementia. The Dementia Society of America provides various educational resources for businesses, communities and caretakers. They’ve partnered with multiple educational institutions, nongovernmental organizations and the federal government to create the Better Brain Nation, a comprehensive resource for brain health information. For those who have a family history of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, the Dementia Society of America stresses preventative measures in order to ensure more effective treatments and accurate diagnoses in the future

4. UsAgainstAlzheimer’s  – Washington, D.C. 

Skeletal model of human school
Photo by jesse orrico from Unsplash

UsAgainstAlzheimer’s garners a unique approach to seeking a cure. Their central focus designates Alzheimer’s as the most significant health and socioeconomic crisis that this generation must endure. Their efforts include mobilizing advocates, creating community networks and pushing for diversity in clinical trials. A recent report published by the Urban Institute and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s unfolds how socioeconomic inequities catalyzed an increase of Alzheimer’s amongst Black and Latino counties in the United States. Their approach suggests that neurodegenerative diseases are not solely passed down by genetics and that social inequalities are a critical element to consider. Emphasizing the importance of racial and ethnic diversity in clinical trials has differentiated this organization from others.

5. Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation  – Washington, D.C. 

Also known as GAP-Net, the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation comprises more than 80 clinical trial sites in the United States and Canada. Global collaboration guides their direction toward a cure. This organization takes a unique approach as they work with international organizations in hopes of innovating clinical research and trials, such as the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia Consortium (EPAD) and the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA). This level of international collaboration fosters a solution to a disease which kills more seniors than breast cancer and prostate cancer patients combined on a global scale. 

Many people regard Alzheimer’s as a disease that only affects the elderly. Most young people do not even think of Alzheimer’s when considering their health. Scientists regard Alzheimer’s as a growing epidemic and estimate that the number of those afflicted will grow from 5 million to 14 million people by 2050 unless new preventative measures and cures are developed by organizations like the ones listed above. Awareness initiates the first step towards a brighter, healthier future.

Erika Bugaring

Maryland '23

Erika is a sophomore from Mundelein, Illinois. She is currently studying economics and government & politics with a concentration in international relations. Her passions include nonprofit leadership, cold brew, financial literacy, and 80s movies. Finder her on Instagram @eribugari!
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