Ad Council and Alzheimer’s Association seek to bring cognitive concerns into the light

The Ad Council has teamed up with the Alzheimer’s Association to encourage families to discuss their cognitive concerns and improve the likelihood of early diagnosis.

Launching on Monday, the national ‘Hopeful Together’ campaign has been created pro bono by Content+, the creative and production group of Mindshare, to encourage relatives to open up on their health concerns. In doing so it is hoped people will engage the services of a doctor sooner rather than later to better treat Alzheimer’s, dementia and other degenerative diseases.

Drawing on the experiences of three real families who heeded the warning signs and weren’t afraid to talk, the campaign surfaces online resources including an interactive conversation guide and information on the signs and symptoms of the disease for anyone worried.

Heidi Arthur, chief campaign development officer at the Ad Council, said: “We know many families struggle with raising these concerns. It’s our goal that this critical campaign will continue to encourage audiences to notice the signs early, trust their gut and have the talk. These conversations make all the difference in the lives of those who have been diagnosed and their families.”

Inspired by research showing that just 44% of Americans would consult a loved one immediately about seeing a doctor if they noticed signs of cognitive decline, the campaign serves as a wake-up call to disproportionately at-risk Hispanic and African American families to open up about their health.

Fear of causing undue worry sees 56% opt to share their concerns with other relatives, while 50% would turn to the internet if alarmed by any mental decline. This is despite 83% of Americans wanting to be informed in such situations, with 61% expressing themselves to be very likely to see their doctor if concerns were brought to them.

Instead, a misguided desire to keep quiet holds sway, with 39% of survey respondents saying they would be ‘unsure if changes were normal aging’ and 35% shying away from a ‘difficult conversation.’ A further 31% said they would not want to ‘hurt a loved one’s feelings.’

Today more than 6 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s, with a third of all senior deaths attributed to the disease. On current trajectories, it is estimated that there will be 13 million citizens aged 65 and over with Alzheimer’s by 2050.

The Ad Council has previously worked to spark more conversations around Alzheimer’s and other brain disorders by reminding us of moments we would never wish to forget.