Escaping the You-Ra-Ra of Awareness and Advocacy

What do you do when the “you-ra-ra” of an awareness and advocacy moment ends? What do you when it starts? This month is Older Americans Month, and next month is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. I have already started to see the events for the Longest Day gearing up. These dedicated months shine the spotlight on aging and dementia and those that walk the dementia journey. Organizations and communities launched new initiatives, programs, and coalitions. People get involved and become cheerleaders, fundraisers, and walk participants. Flyers are on every bulletin board and in every email. But what do we do with this momentum? We can’t put it on a shelf until next year or until the next time the spotlight moves once more to flood us with its light. Action takes more than a cheerleader-like hype, it takes work, hard work. This work sometimes moves very slowly and sometimes quickly. Action means making lots of mistakes and creating the much-needed positive changes everyone seeks. Some of those who have joined us during these awareness months will fall away, yet their presence still made a mark. We are not all called to the continued life of advocacy. We must be okay with that. However, it is left to those of us who remain standing day after day, hour after hour, still marching along to take what we have collectively created each month and transform it into everyday impact.

Here are ways you might be able to move forward and beyond the “you-ra-ra” at the end of each awareness moment.

  1. Reflect on all that was created or highlighted during each awareness month and see what resonates with you, your skills, the time you have, your talents, and your personal mission. 
  2. Commit to continuing to learn and grow in knowledge and understanding of dementia (or any topic that came up for you.) This can be through formal education, workshops, or consuming and internalizing the content created by those living with dementia. This can be in the form of podcasts, blogs, books, keynote addresses, and social media accounts. Maybe find a way to connect on a personal level with these individuals by engaging in the comment section, sending them a message, and supporting them the way you would wish to be supported, or in ways they have stated they need support.
  3. Create a personal action plan that enhances your educational path, this can be through donations, volunteer work, hosting a workshop, or hosting a speaking event. Maybe your action plan is paying attention to the language you use about dementia. Is it in a positive light? Are you reinforcing stigmas or a negative narrative? 
  4. Take the time to visit those in your life who have dementia. Make is a regular commitment, and if you cannot visit them in person, find other ways to connect on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. 
  5. Continue to grow, create, and strive to live fully alive yourself and help others on the journey to do so as well. 

Further action 

Donate to CaringKind and help them continue their mission to serve all on the dementia journey not only in the city of New York but beyond. 

Support the work of Dementia Action Alliance through your donations, interactions, and commitment to further growth and knowledge. 

VISIT YOUR LOVED ONES!!!!! In any way that you can! Small ways and grand ways. With your children, your spouse, invite other family and friends to join you. Do it, do it every moment you have/can create in your schedule. They deserve your love and a time on your calendar. 

If you own a business become a Purple Angel (As an Ambassador I can help you become a Purple Angel) and invite the places of business you visit to become one as well. 

May I join you on your journey? Work with me to create and/or learn something new! 

Published by Kathryne Fassbender

Creative Gerontologist, Speaker, Catholic Innovator. I am also the granddaughter of someone who lived with Vascular Dementia.

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