Hundreds of buildings around the globe turned teal on Nov. 3 to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.
The campaign was part of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (AFA) “Light the World in Teal” event, during which landmarks, offices, public buildings and more worldwide became illuminated with teal light as part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
More than 800 locations, including well-known structures like the Empire State Building in New York and Piccadilly Circus in London, took part in the event.
One location that participated was Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Connecticut, which cares, in part, for patients living with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Alzheimer’s dementia affects one in 14 people over the age of 65 and one in every six people over the age of 80,” said Pooia Fattahi, regional chair of the department of neurology at Saint Mary’s. “There is a good chance that any of us knows at least a person that has been impacted by this disease.”
Fattahi said Alzheimer’s not only causes difficulty for patients but also will impact their immediate family members and caregivers. He hopes the Light The World event brought more attention to the disease.
“The more awareness of the disorder, the more likely that individuals will volunteer for future clinical trials, and hopefully one day, we will have a medication that can slow or halt the progression of the disease,” he said.
Stephanie Valickis, media relations specialist at Saint Mary’s, echoed the importance of awareness.
“Many patients’ families report that this disease is like slowly turning out the light in their loved one’s life,” she said. “We hope that by turning on the ‘light,’ this light will also reach the patient and their families in their journey with this disease … We hope our participation in Light the World [inspired] others to get involved in awareness efforts and be more empathetic to those who suffer from [Alzheimer’s].”
Light The World started in 2014, and the AFA chose teal because from a psychological standpoint, the color represents calmness.
“Next time you see someone dressed in teal, remember the more than 6.2 million people living with Alzheimer’s and the help they need,” said Sandy Silverstein, media relations manager at AFA. “[AFA] wants people to become more aware and also to become more proactive, whether it’s being proactive about their brain health, volunteering, raising awareness or fundraising.”