The role of the color purple in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Awareness


You may have noticed the color purple getting a lot of attention these days. In addition to being the official color of Alzheimer’s awareness, it made more big headlines during the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony earlier this year when Vice President Kamala Harris and other leaders wore various shades of the color as a symbol of uniting red and blue.

This inspired me to dive a little bit deeper into why the color purple has been chosen to represent Alzheimer’s awareness. You may have been asked to don some shade of purple during the month of November, celebrated annually as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Specifically, the Alzheimer’s Association uses a darker shade of purple as their official color, closely related the iris or violet hues.

One possibly theory is that Alzheimer’s Association Founder Jerome Stone’s wife, Evelyn, may have simply loved the color purple when founding the Association. But if we were to look a little deeper into the meaning behind the color, there may be some more significance.

You may recall from grade school that purple is a product of blue and red. In general, dark red often symbolizes things that are mysterious or secretive. Celestial blue symbolizes dreams and a cold emptiness of vast things like the sky or ocean. To draw a comparison to living with Alzheimer’s disease, often the sufferers and their loved ones are sucked into a mysterious disease that is like a veritable vacuum. When we consider the color purple alone, it is often used to represent clarity of mind or wisdom. While this may seem contradictory, it can also be surmised that this brings an element of hope and optimism to an otherwise disheartening diagnosis.

You may have also noticed that purple is part of my brand as well, and I am very proud to support the cause of Dementia Awareness through it.

Color can be a powerful tool in helping us remember, notice and celebrate important things in life. The next time you see purple, take a moment to think about all of those living with dementia and the many caregivers who are joining them on their vast journeys. Let it inspire you to continuously look for ways to unify with these people and help raise dementia awareness on their behalf. In that sense, the color purple can serve as our purple light of hope shining on the world.

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