Many of us will celebrate the longest day of the year – the Summer Solstice on June 21st – by spending time outside with our friends and family, soaking up the sun, and reveling in the fact that we’ve made it another year around the sun while twilight slowly settles around us. But, for many, this longest day has an even greater meaning. The Alzheimer’s Association of America has adopted the summer solstice as their Longest Day and say “The Longest Day is all about love. Love for all those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.”

At Random Acts of Flowers, we’re honoring individuals battling Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other memory-related ailments by celebrating The Brightest Week on June 17-23. With financial support from Eli Lilly and Company, we will make 5,000 deliveries to memory care units at hospital and assisted living facilities in Indianapolis, Knoxville, Chicago, and Tampa Bay during this special week.

“Alzheimer’s has its grasp on more than 5 million people in the United States. But that isn’t just a statistic,” said Phyllis Ferrell, vice president, Lilly global Alzheimer’s disease platform. “It’s my dad. It’s my father-in-law. It’s mothers and fathers. Brothers and sisters. Friends and neighbors. And yes, because Alzheimer’s doesn’t discriminate based on age, it’s sometimes our sons and daughters.”

We encounter recipients facing Alzheimer’s disease at the hospitals and assisted living facilities that we visit on a regular basis. For them – and for us – a bouquet delivery is a welcome bright spot in a world that is turned upside down –

“My elderly father who suffers from Alzheimer’s was recently admitted to UT Medical Center. He was placed on the oncology wing for lack of space elsewhere. Cancer patients tend to receive lots of flowers and visitors. Once someone has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a disease we can only hope to manage not cure, friends and even family begin to distance themselves. The sweetest lady came in carrying a bright yellow basket full of carnations, hydrangeas, daffodils and sunflowers. My dad was so excited.

He said, “Those flowers brighten up the whole room, don’t they?” It is amazing how something as small as a basket of flowers can mean so much. Many, many thanks.” – Joanie H.

“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the flower arrangements you brought. I am especially grateful for the flowers in our Memory Support rooms. My husband has been there since it opened in 2009, and flowers brightened his room until the last petal fell, brightening the days for him, me, and all the caretakers. What pleasure you have given to all of us, and I want you to know how much I appreciate the surprise.” – Marcia E.

And, research has shown that a familiar smell can bring back memories from the past. A study from Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D at Rutgers University “finds flowers decrease depression, encourage companionship and enrich short-term memories in seniors.”

Sunny Biden from The Pat Summitt Foundation (an organization in Knoxville, TN, fighting Alzheimer’s disease) says “with Alzheimer’s the first thing to go is, short-term memory, so bringing flowers to someone… there’s something nostalgic about a flower that reminds someone of a memory. So, if someone gets a certain flower that they loved, it might bring back a childhood memory that they’re more inclined to remember than a short-term memory.”

Flowers have the ability to brighten a person’s room and their spirits; and, through Eli Lilly and Co.’s generous support, Random Act of Flowers will be able to deliver hope, healing, and personal moments of kindness to 5,000 individuals during The Brightest Week.