COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Alzheimer's group set for intensified lobbying

Global Alzheimer's organisation Alzheimer's Disease International is plotting its biggest ever global campaign next year to drive home the message that dementia is a "ticking time bomb".

Plans are being drawn up for an overhaul of the organisation's lobbying, which includes mounting a synchronised campaign through 64 associations worldwide under the theme No Time to Lose. The campaign will coincide with the charity's 20th anniversary.

Draft plans revolve around measures to raise the profile of the condition and warn that the incidence of people with dementia is set to skyrocket.

Currently the condition affects an estimated 18 million people worldwide - with 700,000 in the UK - but this is projected to almost double to 34 million by 2025.

The London-based organisation is drawing up plans to strengthen its lobbying and is in talks with sponsors to raise cash to hire an in-house press and PR executive, and a PR agency to co-ordinate the campaign.

Details will be unveiled at its 19th anniversary conference in Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic next month.

Alzheimer's Disease International executive director Elizabeth Rimmer said: "We are going to play a stronger role in co-ordinating media and messaging."

Sixty local associations will take part, up from 54 last year. The plans come as the organisation gears up for this year's World Alzheimer's Day on 21 September, called In Perfect Partnership. In the UK, the campaign will encourage people with dementia and their carers to form a positive relationship with their doctor or nurse and take an active role in their healthcare.

It will also involve around 70 sponsored walks - dubbed 'memory walks' - in the UK. These are popular in the US, where they are the charity's biggest fundraising tool, but the UK walks will primarily serve to raise awareness.

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