Category Archives: Dementia

Human Rights in Residential Aged Care

Image source: Devon Bunce. Procuded as part of the Summit: Human Rights for People Living with Dementia

In this time of COVID-19, when everyone is being asked to keep a distance from each other, and to remain isolated, some groups in our community who already experience social isolation and confinement. This especially includes older people, and those living in nursing homes (residential aged care), as those providing care being encouraged to become more risk averse, benevolent and paternalistic in their approaches to ‘care’.

Different countries seem to have approached the safety and welfare of vulnerable groups in varying ways. For example. in the UK, we have heard anecdotal evidence from colleagues and members that doctors are prioritising the health – and lives – of younger people over older people, and we have heard of many deaths of older people in the UK because of this inhumane approach. In Australia, care providers were advised the following: “We got a sector email yesterday to providers to say that keeping disabled ppl locked up wasn’t environmental restraint if it was for ‘therapeutic’ purposes and on medical advice. “

In part due to these types of responses to the Coronavirus pandemic, DAI Chair, Kate Swaffer felt it timely to report on the current outcomes of a research project she was involved in at the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Wollongong.

The project is called ‘Safe and Just Futures of People Living with Dementia in Residential Aged Care’.

The aims of the project were to explore:

  • current barriers to liberty and community access for people living with dementia in RACFs; and
  • the possibilities and challenges of utilising a human rights framework to transform the living and support arrangements of people living with dementia in RACFs.

The three project outcomes of the project so far include a published article (open access online), an anthology and the project report, as attached below.

Journal Article* – Questioning Segregation of People Living with Dementia in Australia: An International Human Rights Approach to Care Homes (2019)
Authors: Linda Steele, Kate Swaffer, Lyn Phillipson and Richard Fleming

Anthology – Human Rights for People Living with Dementia: An Australian Anthology (2020)
Edited by Linda Steele, Kate Swaffer, Lyn Phillipson and Richard Fleming

Project Report – Safe and Just Futures for People Living with Dementia in Residential Aged Care (2020)

Safe and Just Futures was funded by a Dementia Australia Research Foundation Victoria Project Grant, with additional funding support from Law Health Justice Research Centre, University of Technology Sydney.

The research team was led by Dr Linda Steele (UTS), with associate investigators: Kate Swaffer (DAI, UOW and UniSA), A/Prof Lyn Phillipson (UOW), Professor Richard Fleming (UOW), and , and research assistant Ray Carr (UTS).

The research team thank the presenters at the Summit who enriched what was learnt through the data. The project would not have been possible without all of their informed input and enthusiasm. They also thank the advisory group, including:

  • Dennis Frost
  • Tamar Krebs (Group Homes Australia)
  • Lynda Henderson
  • Elaine Pearson (Human Rights Watch)
  • Bobby Redman
  • Dubhglas Taylor
  • Eileen Taylor
  • Karen Williams (ADA).

*Reference in Chicago Style:
Steele, Linda; Swaffer, Kate; Phillipson, Lyn; Fleming, Richard. 2019. “Questioning Segregation of People Living with Dementia in Australia: An International Human Rights Approach to Care Homes.” Laws 8, no. 3: 18.

Clowning and Dementia, by Professor L Brandão

Join us soon for our February 2020 “A Meeting Of The Minds Webinar”

Clowning as a medium of promoting the communication and wellbeing of adults living with cognitive impairments

Presented by Professor Lenisa Brandão, on

  • Wednesday, February 26, 2020 (USA/CA/UK/EU)
  • Thursday, February 27, 2020 (AU/NZ/JP/SGP/TWN)

Please note: this is one event, in a number of time zones.


About the Webinar: In this session, Professor Brandão will talk about her journey as a Speech-Language Therapist in becoming a clown facilitator for promoting communication and wellbeing. She will tell the story of the clowning group of older adults living with aphasia with whom she works with in Brazil. Professor Brandão’s presentation will also explain the value of nonverbal communication. Additionally, she will outline the key elements that made her choose active clowning as a medium to promote the experience and expression of communicative empowerment. Finally, Lenisa will provide an overview of her professional plans in working with clowning and older adults who live with aphasia and/or dementia.

About Professor Lenisa Brandão: Speech Language Therapist, Doctor in Psychology, Posdoc in Cognitive Science and Psycholinguistics. Senior Atlantic Fellow at the Global Brain Health Institute. Herthesis was about how people living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) tell personal stories and how that relates with their cognitive abilities. Lenisa’s posdoc study was about how visual and verbal prompts can help people with AD maintain topic and express more ideas in conversations. Her recent work concentrates in the use of theatre and clowning as a medium of expression for people who survive stroke and live with aphasia.

Lenisa’s personal experience: her father lives with normal pressure hydrocephalia and her grandmother (a great story teller) had aphasia in the last years of her life.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 (USA/CA/UK/EU):
  • 10:00 am  Honolulu
  • 12:00 pm  Pacific
  • 1:00 pm    Mountain
  • 2:00 pm    Central
  • 3:000 pm  Eastern
  • 5:00 pm    Porto Alegre, Brazil
  • 8:00 pm    London/Glasgow/Dublin UK
  • 9:30 pm    Paris, Munich, Amsterdam, EU
Thursday, February 27, 2020 (AU/NZ/JP/SGP/TWN/CHN):
  • 6:00 am    Brisbane, AU
  • 6:30 am    Adelaide AU
  • 7:00 am    Sydney/Melbourne/Canberra/Tasmania AU
  • 4:00 am    Perth AU/Taipei//Beijing
  • 9:00 am    Auckland, NZ

The Webinar runs for 1.5 hours.  

Check your time if not listed above with this link. 

Register now…


COST TO ATTEND:

  • DAI Members/Care partners: FREE
  • Support people with dementia to attend ADI2020: $50.00 USD
  • Employed persons: DONATIONS APPRECIATED

Donations are appreciated.

PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TO DAI OR BECOMING AN ASSOCIATE OR PARTNER.

WITHOUT YOUR DONATIONS, DAI COULD NOT PROVIDE THE SERVICES WE PROVIDE CURRENTLY FOR MEMBERS, THEIR FAMILIES & THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY.

  • $US 5.00 covers the average cost of one of our monthly bank fees
  • $US 60.00 covers the average of the cost of our monthly Zoom subscription fee
  • $US 120.00 covers the average monthly cost of the MailChimp subscription
  • $US 300.00 covers the current cost of 3 months of website management fees

Support people with dementia: Donate to DAI

Become a DAI Associate or Strategic Partner today

Volunteer for DAI

CERTIFICATES OF ATTENDANCE: If you are still waiting on a certificate of attendance from any of our educational webinars, please email us at [email protected]

Thank you.

You can view videos of previous DAI “A Meeting of the Minds” Webinars on the You can view videos of previous DAI “A Meeting of the Minds” Webinars on the DAI YouTube Channel

Please note: Whilst we usually publish the recording of the event on YouTube afterwards, it does not include the Q & A sessions, and occasionally, we do not publicly publish recordings of your online Webinars at all, so if you don’t register to attend, you may miss seeing our events.

Introducing the 2020 Board of Directors

DAI is very pleased to introduce the 2020 Board of Directors, and to inform you of DAI’s updated Governance structure.

This year, we have included two positions for people who are not DAI members, which is not different to other organisations who have staff, except that ours are not yet able to be paid. One day, we aspire to have paid roles, for staff, including members.

2020 Board of Directors:
Chair/CEO, Kate Swaffer, Australia
Vice Chair, Alister Robertson, New Zealand
Treasurer, John Sandblom, USA
Eileen Taylor, Australia
Wally Cox, USA
Christine Thelker, Canada
James McKillop, Scotland, UK
Bobby Redman, Australia
Bill Turner, Australia

Two new non member (volunteer) positions:
Secretary, Sarah Yeates, Australia
Finance Officer, Tamara Claunch, USA

Most other organisations usually have many staff in paid roles, but due to a lack of funding, DAI is still not in a position to  do so. We remain indebted to both Sarah and Tamara for their willingness to give of their time freely, for the benefit of members and supporters of DAI.

Three Working Committees:
Internal Affairs
External Affairs
Governance

Within these committees, there is a permanent Finance and Fundraising Sub committee, an Action group, a Membership sub committee, and other teams (or committees) as required.

Professional Advisory Council:
This new group consists of a number of global dementia experts, researchers, medical doctors, an attorney, a CPA and others, to be announced soon.

Please note, our updated By Laws will be added to our website as soon as they have been finalised.

Finally, our Annual General Meeting (AGM) is to be moved to June each year, and the new board positions elected at this meeting will be effective in the next fiscal year. All of these changes have been approved in ine with our By Laws, and to improve our governance.

Listen to Alister Robertson in our first VodCast on why he believes in the work and vision of Dementia Alliance International…

About our new Vice Chair: Alister is from Napier in New Zealand was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s in 2014. Soon after his diagnosis he was fortunate enough to attend a day programme run by Dementia Hawkes Bay, which he now attends three days a week. Alister has become an active member of DAI, having been involved in our Action Group and Board. This week, at our AGM, he accepted the nomination as Vice Chair in 2020.  He is also a very active advocate for raising awareness of dementia in NZ and globally.

DAI members also wish to thank our strategic partners and sponsors, and every single person who so generously makes a donation to DAI.  Without your donations and sponsorship, we could not continue to provide free membership and services to our members and supporters.

Thank you. 

Happy New Year & Happy 6th Birthday DAI lo

Welcome to 2020, and Happy 6th Birthday, and congratulations to everyone at Dementia Alliance International (DAI) for such a successful 2019.

Today we share some of our achievements for 2019, which include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Celebrating our 5th birthday on this day last year! Special thanks to Graeme Atkins for his delightful song
  • Our continued strategic partnership with Alzheimer’s Disease International; we thank them for their continued sponsorship and support
  • Our first strategic partnership with a national advocacy organisation; thank you Dementia Australia for your support in 2019, and your committment to continued sponsorship and support of DAI into 2020 and beyond
  • Representation at the World Health Assembly in May, the Rehabilitation 2030 meetings, and the Mental health Forum in October
  • The first DAI Side Event “Dementia: the leading cause of disability” was held at the Conference Of State Parties (COSP) on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); this was the first time a Side Event dedicated to dmentia has ever been held at the COSP in New York
  • Collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Society UK and the 3 Nations Dementia Working Group on a Directory of Resources on advocacy, and a short video: The Many Voices of Dementia, released in July
  • DAI held its first Capacity Building Workshop in Las Angeles in July
  • DAI was proud to become a Champion Organisation partner with StepUp 4 Dementia Research in Australia; supporting research is imperative for treatments, as well as improving care and reducing risk of dementia, If you live in Australia, please sign up.
  • Dr Jennifer Bute (DAI member) continues to support the ADI Alzheimer’s University, and other members in the UK also provide support to ADI, including Howard Gordon presenting on the panel, Let’s Talk about Dementia Research: Maintaining hope when trials end
  • A second volunteer, Tamara Claunch from Houston Texas joined  long time volunteer Sarah Yeates; thanks to them both. They have also agreed to take on more formal roles at DAI, to support our board and leadership (to be anounced next week)
  • Membership is increasing steadily
  • Increases to additional new free members services, including, for example two Living Alone Social peer to peer support groups
  • Updates to many of our Governance documents and By Laws, soon to be announced and shared
  • It took almost six years, but we now have a committed group of professionals who have agreed to be members of our Professional Advisory Committee, soon to be announced.
  • We introduced the new Board Of Directors for 2020 at the Annual General Meeting in November(to be announced in detail next week), congratulate them all, and thank them for their willingness to serve on the BOD
  • The WHO launched their new Quality Rights initiative and Toolkit. DAI members Professor Peter Mittler and Kate Swaffer both contributed significantly to this on behalf of DAI
  • Many DAI members have also worked with the WHO on their Dementia Friendly Initiatives work, which is still in draft stage and is to be released this year
  • Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of person with disabilities launched a report on the rights of older persons with disabilities at the 74th session of the General Assembly in October 2019. The report identifies and addresses specific human rights concerns faced by both people with disabilities who are ageing and older persons who acquire a disability. DAI was invited to review the draft, and able to ensure dementia was included
  • We have two formal publication in progress, finally, to be released sometime in 2020
  • Finally, please find the time to complete the DAI Survey on Advocacy and involvement in Dementia Research and Policy; Responses are needed by January 15, 2020. Thank you.  

Of course, there have been many other achievements by individual DAI members, working locally, nationally or globally, as always, far too many to list. However, DAI knows that advocacy takes a physical and cognitive (and sometmes emotional) toll on every person with dementia, and their care partner and family.

DAI thanks you all for your hard work.

Universal Health Coverage Day 2019

December 12  is  International Universal Health Coverage Day, a day where  we must remind governments AND health care providers that everyone has a right to health.

As background on the history of this day, in 2014, the Universal Health Coverage Coalition started to celebrate 12 December as Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day,  commemorating the date on which the UN General Assembly officially recognised the importance of UHC. It is a United Nations-designated day, which was officially resolved on 12 December 2017.

Since then, the day has become the annual rallying point for the growing global movement for #Health4All.

Every person—no matter who they are, what health condition they have, or where they live, should be able to get the quality health coverage and services they need without facing financial hardship.

DAI knows that most people with dementia do not receive full health coverage, nor adequate post diagnostic support to live with dementia; instead, they are too often only advised to go home and prepare to die.  And for those people with dementia and their families who choose a different pathway, the cost is often crippling.

Three months after the historic high-level meeting the the United Nations General Assembly on universal health coverage (held on 23 September 2019),  we understand that dementia was not specifically included in discussions, in spite of the many years of global advocacy by DAI and ADI.

This is not a positive outcome for the more than 50 million people currently livign with dementia!

This high-level meeting, held under the theme “Universal Health Coverage: Moving Together to Build a Healthier World,” aimed to accelerate progress toward universal health coverage (UHC), including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

Yet, we know that people with dementia are still being denied access to health care, all over the world. 

Let’s all rally together to ensure everyone, including people with dementia are not left behind in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda! 

 

Human Rights Day

On this day on which we celebrate Human Rights Day in 2019, DAI and ADI wish to invite you to join us for a webinar in 2020. The United Nations celebrates ‘tremendous activism’ of the world’s young people. DAI especially celebrates the activism of everyone who is working towards rights for people with dementia and their families. This includes many young people, as many have to care for a family member with dementia, especially in low and middle income families. Let us all celebrate everyone’s human rights. Listen to DAI Chair, Kate Swaffer on why rights are everyone’s business.

#StandUp4HumanRights #CRPD #BanChemicalRestraint #HumanRightsBelong2Everyone

Details on how to join the Webinar will follow in 2020.

 

Beyond-BPSD by Dr Al Power

This week, in our “Meeting Of The Minds” Webinar, we were honoured to listen to Dr Al Power on the urgent need to stop using the framework known as Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD), and to reframe how we view, and treat people with dementia. Thank you Al.

Note: Al’s slides were too large to upload on our website, so please contact us if you would like a copy emailed to you.

Donating to or partnering with us will make a difference.

Membership of, and services provided by Dementia Alliance International are FREE, and open to anyone with a diagnosis of any type of dementia.

Read our e-newsletters or regular blogs by subscribing to them.

#Hello, my name is Cheryl Day

As we move into the second half of September, DAI continues to share #Hello stories from our members.

Please join us in celebrating life, and working towards a world where people with dementia and their families receive  improved diagnosis experiences and rates, and better care which includes rehabilitation. Of course we all want a cure or a disease modifying drug for even one type or cause of dementia, but the more than 50 million people currently living with dementia and their families also deserve the better care.

Special thanks to Cheryl Day for sharing her story with us today.

Image source: Cheryl Day

Hello My Name is Cheryl Day. 

Working cross culturally in Africa has many challenges and joys. Since 2009 I had been volunteering for SIM (Serving in Mission) in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe as a Horticulturalist (training farmers in conservation agriculture & food security) and a Pastor. I can tell you lots of stories of my adventures.

The joys were many, like opportunity to build new relationships, friendships, making a difference in peoples lives and the impact they had on my own life. Challenges like learning new languages and cultural cues, almost ending up in jail in Ethiopia, living standards and resource availability way different to Australia, and having two very serious back injuries while there. I thought this was about as challenging as my life could be.

While in Zimbabwe, October 2016, I had some unusual health symptoms that I couldn’t make out. In January 2017 I had the regular tests in South Africa for previous health issues, but the tests showed all was fine, but I knew that something was wrong. At the same time my issues started my sister was diagnosed with AML Leukemia back home. I eventually made a trip home in March 2017 to spend time with her and family.

While home I took advantage of better medical facilities to begin investigating my own health issues. At first, they thought my symptoms matched Multiple Sclerosis (MS). There was also a thought that there may be two major conditions happening at once. However, with no certain diagnosis I was given a clearance to return to Zimbabwe and continue the vital work there.

To cut a long story short after returning back to Australia the end of 2017 I finally got an official full diagnosis in May 2018 as test results showed a further decline from 12 months pervious.

Absolutely shattered at the prognosis of a growing list of health conditions and told to get all my affairs in order.

At 51 years old I was diagnosed with a rare condition – the semantic variant of Primary Progressive Aphasia. Plus issues from a Chiari Malformation of the brain, osteoporosis, recovering from a fall in Zimbabwe September 2017 where I had shattered 3 vertebrae in my back (a miracle I didn’t come home in a wheel Chair), and issues from the previous 2013 back injury.

Devastated knowing that this would be the final straw to end a goal of volunteering in Africa long term. (by the way I did get back to Zimbabwe to say goodbye in Sept/Oct 2018). I cried more than I had ever before, felt totally defeated, this was the end of my missionary adventures, the ability to enjoy life and continue to contribute into the lives of others.

One day I was listening to the radio and they were interviewing a lady named Kate Swaffer and her journey with dementia. Of course, my ears pricked up given my current circumstances and I listened intently to the interview.

I grabbed my computer and googled Dementia Alliance International. Becoming involved with DAI and connecting with Kate was the breakthrough I had been praying for and haven’t looked back since.

From the beginning of 2019 the support groups, the informative webinars, the friendships I’m making, the realisation of knowing I’m not alone in this, the opportunity to volunteer and help in advocacy for dementia are lifesaving.

A new focus, new life and new possibilities.

I am learning what I have read in the Bible so many times about living one day at a time and not worrying about tomorrow. I am still capable of many things, have a lot to offer and my passion of empowering people continues, just with a different perspective.

Cheryl Day © 2019

Please help us support more people like Cheryl living with dementia to share their stories and live more positively by donating or partnering with Dementia Alliance International.

#Hello from 49 people with dementia in NZ, Day 3 #WAM2019

Whilst we highlight many  individual voices of people with dementia through our #Hello blog series this month, in todays post, we share our “Meeting Of The Minds” Webinar from June, Living with dementia in New Zealand.

The research involved listening to the voices of 49 people diagnosed with dementia in New Zealand, and we thank Liz and Alister for their contribution during the Webinar. The slides and the Dementia Declaration are available to download below the video.

Download the power point slides

Download the NZ Dementia Declaration

Webinar: Dementia and Wayfinding, by Noelannah Neubauer

Register now to join us for the next DAI “A Meeting Of The Minds” Webinar, on August 28/29, 2019. We are delighted to introduce Noelannah Neubauer to present on this topic, which some members and families may find contentious. However,  we all agree, for a person who is lost, providing support to ensure their safe return home, including people with dementia is important. After the presentation, there is time for you to ask questions, or express your views.

Title: Dementia and Wayfinding
Presenter: Noelannah Neubauer, PhD, MSc, BHK

  • Wednesday, Aug 28, 2019 (USA/CA/UK/EU)
  • Thursday, Aug 29, 2019 (AU/NZ/JP/SGP/TWN)

Please note: this is one event, set in a number of different time zones.

About the Webinar: The changing face of dementia and missing person incidents: The International Consortium on Dementia and Wayfinding

The number of lost and missing person incidents involving those living with dementia has been on a rapid incline in recent years. Despite the increasing number of available strategies to lessen this issue, research focusing on managing and preventing lost incidents among those living with dementia is limited and few key stakeholders, such as persons with dementia have been involved. International collaborations looking at this issue from a global scale has also yet to be explored. This has led to the formulation of an international consortium on dementia and wayfinding. Co-founded by two PhD students in Canada and Scotland, the International Consortium on Dementia and Wayfinding serves as a knowledge mobilization hub for more than 8 countries and includes persons with dementia, care partners, community organizations, police, health professionals and researchers. The goal of the consortium is to help people living with dementia go out and about safely in their local neighbourhoods without fear of stigma, getting lost, or going missing. We plan to do this by doing research and sharing best practices from around the world. These measures will help people live their lives safely, without restricting freedom.

About our speaker:

Noelannah Neubauer is an incoming Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Applied Health Science at the University of Waterloo in Canada. She recently completed her PhD August 2019 in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Dr. Lili Liu. She is the co-founder of the International Consortium on Dementia and Wayfinding, is a member of WYLD, and is Highly-Qualified personnel with AGE-WELL NCE. Her research focuses on identifying strategies that balance safety and autonomy among persons living with dementia that are at risk of getting lost.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019 (USA/CA/UK/EU):

  • 11:00 am Honolulu
  • 2:00 pm Pacific
  • 3:00 pm Mountain
  • 4:00 pm Central
  • 5:00 pm Eastern
  • 10:00 pm London/Glasgow/Dublin UK
  • 11:00 pm Paris, Munich, Amsterdam, EU

Thursday, August 29 2019 (AU/NZ/JP/SGP/TWN/CHN):

  • 6:30 am Adelaide AU
  • 7:00 am Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne/Canberra/Tasmania AU
  • 5:00 am Perth AU/Taipei//Beijing
  • 9:00 am Auckland, NZ

The Webinar runs for 1.5 hours. Check your time if not listed above with this link.

COST TO ATTEND:

  • DAI Members/Care partners: FREE
  • Employed persons: DONATIONS APPRECIATED

WE INVITE YOU TO DONATE TO, OR PARTNER WITH DAI NOW