In honour of World Alzheimer's Day, landmarks in Newmarket and across York Region will turn blue on Sept. 21.
The Town of Newmarket will light both Riverwalk Commons and Fred A. Lundy Bridge on Water Street in the colour blue, which is the colour of Alzheimer's societies in Canada. The town has also proclaimed September as World Alzheimer's Month.
This is the third year that municipalities have marked the occasion, which the Alzheimer's Society of York Region said lets "the 17,000 people currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias (ADOD) know they are not alone."
Alzheimer's is a fatal illness that destroys brain cells, impacting all aspects of their life. It is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 per cent of diagnoses.
It is a lonely disease, Alzheimer's Society York Region said, with many people losing connection to their friends and family after receiving a diagnosis.
It is also very taxing on caregivers of people who live with dementia, as they spend on average 26 hours per week providing care. Forty-five per cent of caregivers also exhibit some sign of distress, according to a Landmark Study from the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
That same study predicted that the number of people in Ontario living with dementia will triple in the next 30 years.
World Alzheimer's Day and Month aim to raise awareness for the disease and eliminate the stigma surrounding it and other forms of dementia.
Along with Newmarket, Georgina, Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Aurora have proclaimed September as World Alzheimer's Month.
Vaughan City Hall and the Town of East Gwillimbury's operation centre will both be lit blue, like the Newmarket landmarks, in honour of the day on Sept. 21. The Alzheimer Society of York Region office on Edward Street in Aurora will also be lit with blue lights.