Many people have experienced feelings of isolation over the past year, as the pandemic tore at our social fabric. Now, with COVID-19 cases declining and vaccinations on the rise, there is a sense of hope and normalcy on the horizon. However, for many who are impacted by Alzheimer’s or dementia, isolation is something that started long before and will continue as others begin to resume everyday life.
In the U.S., Alzheimer’s and dementia deaths have increased 16% during the pandemic and, in total, more than six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million.
For many of our neighbors in Western New York, the isolation from the pandemic and the long winter has kept them from seeking the help and resource assistance they so desperately need. When going without seeing loved ones in person for prolonged periods of time, there is a greater chance of missing cues that something could be wrong. And while there are online resources available, attending a virtual support session can be an intimidating barrier to cross.
As a partner to Alzheimer’s Association WNY, FARM developed communications to speak to those who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, or perhaps they are affected and do not quite know what their first step should be. For the approximately two-thirds of caregivers who are female, the feeling of carrying a heavy burden alone can be enough to prevent them from seeking support.
Through print and digital ads, as well as video, we spoke directly to these women through a relatable and empathetic message and tone. Specifically, our “Me” and “Helpline” campaigns addressed the often exhausting and isolating feeling of caring for someone with this disease by putting faces to the names behind the helpline to introduce a sense of hope.
If you or someone you know may be showing signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia, it is vital to know that help is just one phone call away. Joining an educational session online at Alz.org/Help-Support or calling the caring dementia specialists at the Helpline (800.272.3900) is the first step to breaking the isolation barrier and embracing the resources and support system that is ready and willing to help, starting today.