Memory Sunday Builds Alzheimer’s Awareness

Photo of an older African American man's face, highlighted before a black screen background with text promoting Memory Sunday

Did you know?

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and the fifth leading cause of death of older African Americans.
  • African Americans are generally diagnosed at later stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The risk of developing Alzheimer’s is two to three times higher for African Americans.
  • African Americans have higher rates of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart diseases, which increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
  • Persons with a history of either high blood pressure or high cholesterol are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
  • Those with both risk factors are four times more likely to develop dementia.

One thing is clear: African Americans need more education about Alzheimer’s and other dementias as well as the benefit of early diagnosis. Why? To confirm that confusion and/or memory loss is indeed Alzheimer’s or another dementia (not some other condition with those symptoms). To plan more quality time with family and friends. To learn ways to stay active while living with memory loss. And that’s why Aging and Disability Services promotes brain health.

image of Memory Sunday save-the-date flyer listing participating faith communities in the Seattle areaMemory Sunday is an annual event typically scheduled on the second Sunday in June. On Memory Sunday, participating congregations serving African Americans provide education on Alzheimer’s: prevention, treatment, research studies, and caregiving. This year, Memory Sabbath and Memory Sunday will be observed at the following places of worship:

Saturday, June 8
Emerald City 7th Day Adventist
801 25th Ave, Seattle 98122 (tel. 206-322-0717)

Sunday, June 9
Emerald City Bible Fellowship
7728 Rainier Ave S, Seattle 98118 (tel. 206-722-0455)

First AME Church
1522 14th Ave, Seattle 98122 (206-324-3664)

Martin L. King, Jr. Memorial Baptist Church
4519 NE 10th St, Renton 98059 (425-255-1446)

Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church
2801 S Jackson St, Seattle 98144 (206-329-9794)

Memory Sunday is an initiative of the National Brain Health Center for African Americans, which was founded by The Balm In Gilead—an organization that for 30 years has worked to prevent diseases and to improve the health status of people of the African Diaspora, providing support to faith communities and other institutions that work to eliminate health disparities. The National Brain Health Center for African Americans offers a Memory Sunday Toolkit and other resources for African American congregations on their website.

2019 Legacy of Love African American Caregivers Forum

Caregivers of family members living with memory loss have an opportunity to increase their knowledge and understanding of Alzheimer’s and other dementias at the annual Legacy of Love African American Caregivers Forum in November. Save the date—Saturday, November 9 (9 a.m.–3:30 p.m.) at Embassy Suites by Hilton in Tukwila. For more information and to pre-register for the forum, visit

image of the save-the-date flyer for Legacy of Love, the 2019 African American Caregivers Forum, on Saturday, November 9. For more information, visit

For information about Memory Sunday activities in local churches and/or the Legacy of Love African American Caregivers Forum, e-mail

Contributor Karen Winston, a planner at Aging and Disability Services, the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle-King County, staffs the Mayor’s Council on African American Elders and coordinates both Memory Sunday and the African American Caregiver Forum. She is also a member of the Dementia Action Collaborative Long-Term Supportive Services sub-committee. Karen also facilitates development of the Area Agency’s four-year plan.

This article originally appeared in AgeWise King County