April Marks World Health Day and Parkinson’s Awareness

April is an important month for health care observances, including both Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month and World Health Day. Learn more about April's observances and how you can show your support.

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April Marks World Health Day and Parkinson’s Awareness
6 Min Read April 2nd, 2024

April is full of health care holidays and observances, including World Health Day and Parkinson's Awareness Month. These events draw millions in the U.S. and globally to rally behind health care causes and raise awareness about pressing health issues.

Let's dive into these significant observances and explore ways you can get involved. We'll examine World Health Day and Parkinson's Awareness Month, along with other notable health care commemorations this April.

What Is World Health Day & Why Is It Important?

World Health Day is celebrated annually on April 7th. It celebrates the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) and aims to spread awareness and support for global health issues. 

Each year adopts a specific theme; in 2024, the theme is "My health, my right." This theme explores issues concerning access to quality health care and the necessity of a clean, safe environment. 

This year's goal is to advocate for a safer and healthier world for all, underscoring the fundamental human right to access high-quality health care and lead fulfilling lives.

How Did World Health Day Start?

World Health Day started as a way to celebrate the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). For some background, the World Health Organization is an international organization focused on protecting and promoting public health around the globe. 

The WHO's first meeting was hosted on April 7th, 1948, marking a pivotal moment in global health governance. From 1950 onwards, the WHO decided to celebrate the joining of several nations to safeguard and enhance public health worldwide.

Over the years, the WHO has played an instrumental role in countless public health improvements, including the eradication and reduction of various life-threatening diseases. The WHO is also responsible for helping billions of people access health care and creating invaluable world health reports.

World Health Day brings awareness to both these achievements and areas of needed improvement. Each year, this holiday helps increase and improve health care literacy and advocacy all around the globe. 

What Is Parkinson’s Awareness Month & Why Is It Important?

Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month is celebrated in April. Not only is the entire month dedicated to Parkinson's Disease, but April 11th is also recognized as World's Parkinson's Disease Day. 

These initiatives are critical for those living with or helping those with Parkinson's Disease, as this illness is often unrecognized and misunderstood. 

Parkinson's Disease is a chronic, neurodegenerative disease that causes sporadic movements and mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety. Symptoms usually worsen with time, and as of 2024, there is no known cure. 

Common symptoms of Parkinson's include problems with movement, tremors, stiffness, emotional changes, and problems speaking or chewing. 

It's estimated about 1 million live with Parkinson's Disease in the U.S. Around 90,000 Americans are diagnosed with this disease each year. These statistics underscore the substantial impact of this condition on society and the urgency of raising awareness for those affected.

How Did Parkinson’s Disease Day and Awareness Month Start?

World Parkinson's Day first started on April 11th, 1997. This date was chosen to celebrate Dr. James Parkinson, the first person to identify Parkinson's Disease. 

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation extended this holiday to the entire month of April to increase awareness for Parkinson's Disease education and people suffering from the disease. 

The foundation introduced the term and hashtag #ABCsofPD as a social media strategy to amplify visibility for Parkinson's Awareness Month. 

Other April Long-Term Care Holidays

Outside of National Parkinson's Awareness Month and World Health Day, there are also other health and long-term care holidays you may want to be aware of this April:

  • National Occupational Therapy Month – Occupational therapy helps individuals regain daily living skills they may have lost after an accident or due to disability. This month helps people learn about and support occupational therapists. 

  • National Cancer Control Month – Cancer is a leading cause of a need for long-term care. This month honors those who are struggling with cancer diagnoses, management, and their caregivers. 

  • National Minority Health Month – In 2024, there are still health inequalities that disproportionately affect minority populations. This month aims to bring awareness to these struggles in hopes of creating a better future. 

  • National Public Health Week (4/1-4/7) – This week centers on cleaning and maintaining our environment to better our own and our community's health. 

How to Show Your Support for April Health Care Observances?

There are several avenues for individuals to engage with and demonstrate support for health care holidays this April. While some options may require financial contributions, others are cost-free and readily accessible means to boost awareness.

Donate to a Cause You Believe In

One of the simplest ways to show your support for health care causes is through donations. Numerous online campaigns offer opportunities for contribution. Here are a few initiatives aligned with April's health care holidays:

  • World Parkinson's Day – Get involved by donating to the World Parkinson's Day foundation. This organization organizes events, spreads education, and advocates for Parkinson's Disease. 

  • National Public Health Week – The American Public Health Organization directs all contributions towards improving public health throughout the U.S.

  • National Foundation for Cancer Research – Your donation to Cancer Control Month will directly aid researchers in securing funding and advancing efforts to find a cure and treatment for cancer.

  • The American Occupational Therapy Foundation – This organization funds research, scholarships, and programs to advance the field of occupational therapy and enhance the quality of life for individuals receiving OT services.

  • The World Health Organization – Explore various campaigns by donating to the World Health Organization, a global leader in public health initiatives.

Spread Awareness Online

If donating isn't feasible at the moment, there are still several cost-free ways to demonstrate your support. In the digital age, one of the most effective methods to champion your preferred causes is through online engagement.

Whether you're utilizing hashtags, sharing posts, or crafting original content, your efforts in raising awareness about health care events and awareness months can significantly enhance visibility and understanding.

Attend Local or Community Events

Many communities, especially in cities, hold events to show their support for different health care causes. For example, on April 22nd, in NYC, there will be a unity walk and fundraising event for Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month. 

Reach out to local organizations and community groups in your area to learn more about events happening near you. Participating not only allows you to support a worthy cause but also provides an opportunity to engage with fellow community members whom you may not have otherwise encountered.

Volunteer or Join a Cause as a Part-Time Worker

At times, particularly when an issue hits close to home, we may feel called to show our support in other ways. For individuals deeply committed to effecting change, volunteering or taking on a part-time role within a non-profit organization can offer a way to see a direct impact. 

Opportunities can range from event setup to coordination roles within these organizations. By getting involved in such ways, you can actively contribute to meaningful initiatives and witness the results of your efforts firsthand.

Support Someone You Know Directly

Are you or a loved one directly affected by an illness like Parkinson's? Maybe one of your friends takes care of a relative with an illness? Regardless of your connection, one of the best ways to show your support is through direct empathy and spending quality time with those navigating health struggles.

Learn More About Caregiving & Long-Term Care This April

In light of the various April health care holidays, now is as good a time as any to learn more about caregiving and long-term care. 

We all age, and some of us may need more help in our later years than others. Taking steps now to support and educate ourselves on long-term care causes can make the difference between a fulfilling and fearful future. 

LTC News has several resources for you to learn more about long-term care. Whether you're looking for information on how to take care of a loved one, how to find care in your area, or looking for help for yourself, LTC News has you covered. 

To learn more about caregiving and long-term care, you can explore more resources below:

  • Caring for Loved Ones with Parkinson's Disease – Treating Parkinson’s Disease is challenging. This article discusses strategies for managing Parkinson’s disease as a family caregiver. 

  • What Is Long-Term Care – Long-term care often happens in old age when we need help with activities of daily living like bathing or dressing. In this article, you can learn more about what long-term care is and how it’s different from regular health care. 

  • Long-Term Care Directory – LTC News’s Long-Term Care Directory can help you or your loved one find care near you. This includes specialized care for those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.   


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About the Author

Holly works with long-term care experts to help spread education and awareness about long-term care, caregiving, and LTC Insurance.

LTC News Contributor Holly Ellison

Holly Ellison

Contributor since October 17th, 2023

Editor's Note

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Experience peace of mind knowing you have access to quality care services when you need them most - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

These four LTC NEWS guides will assist you in trying to find appropriate long-term services for a loved one:

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