Category Archives: Uncategorized

Happy 2021; Happy 7th birthday DAI

2020 saw a global pandemic accompanied by sweeping shutdowns and stay-at-home orders along with worldwide travel restrictions. Dementia Alliance International (DAI) members ‚Äď and our families and supporters ‚Äď were not exempt from these very difficult restrictions and challenges.

In fact, COVID-19 has highlighted more than ever before what people with dementia often experience from the time of their diagnosis, or when they disclosed their diagnosis of dementia.

  • Social isolation
  • Physical distancing
  • Physical isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Normal human responses to the changes and disabilities brought about by dementia (not BPSD)

As we reflect on this tumultuous year and embrace the new one, we pause and reflect on 2020. Importantly, we can still look ahead with anticipation ‚Äď and hope ‚Äď to 2021.

Before we reflect though, it is very exciting to be able to celebrate our 7th birthday today!

Seven years ago today, DAI was launched by 8 co-founders from 3 countires, who were all were diagnosed with dementia. They had worked on it for many months, and were initially using Google Chats to communicate, followed in 2013 by zoom.

DAI were very early adopters of zoom! Thankfully the rest of the world has now caught up.

People without dementia are also now better understanding how draining and tiring zoom meetings or chats can be. It‚Äôs very likely there will be lots of research money now spent on ‚Äėzoom-fatigue‚Äô.

If only it hadn‚Äôt taken a pandemic‚Ķ

It‚Äôs easy to dream! Our founders all had their own individual dreams and wants. Many of these dreams have become the ‚Äėcollective DAI dream‚Äô, and include the following ery reasonable dreams.

  • Our dream: to provide support for other people also diagnosed with dementia.
  • Our dream: equal inclusion.
  • Our dream: to provide a network of people with and without dementia to advocate for better care.
  • Our dream: for more relevant research, that actually makes a tangible difference.
  • Our dream: for Universal health Coverage, including rehabilitation.

Our unofficial ‚Äėmotto‚Äô has always been the famous quote by Margaret Mead:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it‚Äôs the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Mead)

Our next blog will include the reflections from 2020, referred to above! For today, let‚Äôs all celebrate how far people with dementia have come, running their own unique global organisation. It‚Äôs at least a triple celebration considering DAI has no paid staff, three incredible volunteers, and almost no funding!

Stay safe.

Stay well.

You are not alone.

World Mental Health Day October 10 Virtual Event

The 2020 WHO Mental Health Forum #12 took place online on October 8. It provided an opportunity for diverse stakeholders to get an overview of mental health aspects of COVID-19 and the challenges and opportunities it has brought to mental health, both globally and locally. COVID-19 has exposed the limitations of existing mental health systems and has made it clear that we cannot maintain the status quo. Our Chair represented DAI at this important forum.

The theme for the 2020 Mental Health Forum was the changing landscape of global mental health in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This theme reflected the urgent need for action on mental health as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. At the forum, speakers discussed:

  • Global and¬†country-level actions by governments
  • civil¬†society and academia to respond to mental
  • neurological and substance use needs¬†during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advocates and policymakers across the globe showed that mental health can never be in the shadows and should be in the center of any emergency and post-emergency, recovery response. During the forum this year, we will review the progress in positioning mental health in COVID-19 response agenda and beyond. We learned about ongoing and new initiatives and discuss ways to enhance action in countries.

They also discussed a wide range of COVID-19 Mental Health products and actions developed and implemented by WHO and partners to support affected people. Speakers also discussed how WHO and inter-agency tools are supporting the implementation of mental health interventions in different age groups and across different settings, and how we can do better together.

The current pandemic has made evident that reliance on outdated mental health systems is no longer an option. Promising initiatives by countries and agencies have shown that it is feasible to make a difference through innovation during the most challenging times.

Following the forum, this invitation was received to get involved on World Mental Health Day:

Message sent on behalf of Ms Dévora Kestel, Director, WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Use

Dear WHO Mental Health Forum 2020 Participant,


On World Mental Health Day, WHO will be hosting, for the first time, an online global advocacy event on mental health. Join WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, national and international leaders and celebrity guests to talk about what we can all do to improve our mental health and how we can help make sure that quality mental health care is available to everyone who needs it. During the 3-hour event, video features will be interspersed with personal testimonies and performances from celebrities and advocates from around the world.


How to get involved




Join our social media campaign 


Join us #MoveForMentalHealth social media campaign on Facebook; Twitter; Instagram; and TikTok, in collaboration with United for Global Mental Health and the World Federation for Mental Health.


How to get involved


  • If you are on social media, share a video showing what you do for your own mental well-being, including the hashtag #MoveForMentalHealth. Take a look at our own video to give you some ideas:¬†¬†! Ask your friends to take part too.
  • Look out for our posts on social media explaining why it is so important to invest in mental health. Share widely. And create your own!


Thank you for your support.


#MoveForMentalHealth: let’s invest


Dévora Kestel


Mental Health and Substance Use Department

World Health Organization

International Day of Older Persons

October 1 is the International Day of Older Persons, when each year we recognise, remember and celebrate Older Persons.

The theme this year asks, Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?, and introduce the Obervance  like this:

The year 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations and the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons. This year has also seen an emergence of COVID-19, that has caused an upheaval across the world.

Considering the higher risks confronted by older persons during the outbreak of pandemics such as COVID-19, policy and programmatic interventions must be targeted towards raising awareness of their special needs.

Recognizing older persons contributions to their own health and the multiple roles they play in the preparedness and response phases of current and future pandemics is also important.

The 2020 theme for the International Day of Older Persons aims to:

  • Inform participants about the strategic objectives for the Decade of Healthy Ageing.
  • Raise awareness of the special health needs of older persons and of their contributions to their own health and to the functioning of the societies in which they live.
  • Increase awareness and appreciation of the role of the health care workforce in maintaining and improving the health of older persons, with special attention to the nursing profession
  • Present proposals for reducing the health disparities between older persons in the developed and developing countries, so as to ‚ÄúLeave no one behind‚ÄĚ.
  • Increase understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on older persons and its impact on health care policy, planning, and attitudes.

Some key facts about Ageing and health from the World Health Organisation (2018) are startling, and remind us of the importance of changing attitudes towards older persons.

  • Between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double from 12% to 22%.
  • By 2020, the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than 5 years.
  • In 2050, 80% of older people will be living in low- and middle-income countries.
  • The pace of population ageing is much faster than in the past.
  • All countries face major challenges to ensure that their health and social systems are ready to make the most of this demographic shift.

It is important we all think of ways to reduce the stigma of ageing, and the ageist attutudes about older persons. Whilst dementia is anot a normal part of ageing, our risk factor goes up with age. In this article, Positive attitudes about aging reduce risk of dementia in older adult, reporter Michael Greenwood shares som eimprtant research about how improving attitudes towards older persons, can reduce their risk of getting dementia.

Positive attitudes about aging reduce risk of dementia in older adult

By Michael Greenwood, published on 7 February 2018

Research has shown that older persons who have acquired positive beliefs about old age from their surrounding culture are less likely to develop dementia. This protective effect was found for all participants, as well as among those carrying a gene that puts them at higher risk of developing dementia, a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health has found. 

Published today in the journal PLOS ONE, the study reports that older persons with positive age beliefs who carry one of the strongest risk factors for developing dementia ‚ÄĒ the őĶ4 variant of the APOE gene ‚ÄĒwere nearly 50% less likely to develop the disease than their peers who held negative age beliefs.¬†¬†

The study is the first to examine whether culture-based age beliefs influence the risk of developing dementia among older people, including those who carry the high-risk gene variant. 

‚ÄúWe found that positive age beliefs can reduce the risk of one of the most established genetic risk factors of dementia,‚ÄĚ said lead author Becca Levy, professor of public health and of psychology. ‚ÄúThis makes a case for implementing a public health campaign against ageism, which is a source of negative age beliefs.‚ÄĚ

Read the full article here…

What’s it like to live with dementia?



On the final day of Dementia Awareness Month, we share a short video of one of our co founders, Kate Swaffer talking about three things she now knows about dementia.

As a co founding member of DAI, Kate has often said she is glad she co-founded DAI, because it provides support, gives people hope, and helps them to ‘reclaim their lives‘, after it has been stripped away.

Whilst not all members join peer to peer support groups, and not all members become active in DAI, those who do, regularly say: “DAI saved their life”. DAI is Life Changing.

3 Things I know [about dementia]

The Drum, SBS, Australia

Introduction by Ellen Fanning, 5 May 2020,
Reporter Stephanie Bolte

When [DAI co-founder, Chair and CEO] Kate Swaffer started to see words upside down over a decade ago, she thought it was a result of brain surgery she’d had. It turned out she was one of more than 26,00 people in Australia under the age of 65 with what’s known as younger onset dementia. 

Told to get ready to die, Kate’s world seemed to disappear overnight, but she realised it didn’t have to, and she has gone on to co-found Dementia Alliance International and advocate across the globe for dementia in practice to be seen as a disability. She sat down with reporter Stephanie Boltje, before the Coronavirus shutdown, to explain three things she knows about dementia.

Since you’re here…

… we’re asking readers like you to support our members, by donating to our organization.

With more than 50 million people living with dementia, and the Coronavirus pandemic causing everyone to operate in a virtual world, our work has never been more important.

Every contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to our work of supporting people diagnosed with any type of dementia to live more positively, and with a greater sense of hope.  Thank you.

Help more people with dementia to continue to have a voice, by donating to DAI.

Lyn Rogers shares why she is glad she joined DAI

Lyn Rogers is a member of DAI, and shares with us on Day 24 of Dementia Awareness Month, why she is glad she found DAI. Lyn has been a permanent resident in a nursing home (residential care facility) in the state of Victoria in Australia for over two years.

Lyn has a diagnosis of dementia and lives with other comorbidities, like most people over the age of 65. She moved to the facility from Queensland, therefore most of her family and friends are not living nearby, and although she uses a crutch, she loves to go for a daily walk, which is essential she maintain her mobility and emotional health. It has been much more lonely since the COVID-199 pandemic, as she has faced significant challenges being allowed to maintain her walking and other activities.

Thank you Lyn. We are really glad you found DAI.

Since you’re here…

… we’re asking readers like you to support our members, by donating to our organizaton.

With more than 50 million people living with dementia, and the Coronavisus pandemic causing everyone to operate in a virtual world,  our work has never been more important.

Every contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to our work of supporting people diagnosed with any type of dementia to live more positively, and with a greater sense of hope.  Thank  you.

Help more people with dementia like Lyn to have a voice, by  supporting DAI.


Protecting the development and implementation of public health policies from undue influence of unhealthy commodity industries

Statement by the WHO Civil Society Working Group on Noncommunicable Diseases. 

Published 11 September 2020

Protecting the development and implementation of public health policies from undue influence of unhealthy commodity industries.

This new statement on ‘Protecting the development and implementation of public health policies from undue influence of unhealthy commodity industries’ from the World Health Organization (WHO) Civil¬†Society Working¬†Group on NCDs calls on all relevant stakeholders¬†including WHO Member States, UN agencies, programmes and funds, international global health and humanitarian organisations,¬†NGOs, academic institutions and the media to protect public health policies from undue¬†influence of unhealthy commodity industries.

Download the statement here…

Kate Swaffer is pleased to represent Dementia Alliance International on this second WHO Civil Society Working Group, which is one of 36 Member organisations.

Follow our Dementia Awareness Month 2020 stories and campaigns below and check out our Art Auction

Jerry Wylie and the Dementia Warriors #DAM2020

Today was our monthly Cafe Le Brain, and unfortunately for everyone, one of the co hosts’ internet died, so it was a rather disjointed cafe! We had a few topics on the agenda, including with Jerry Wylie’s permission, watching a video made about setting his local support group, called the Dementia Warriors.

Jerry Wylie, USA

Therefore to support those who missed out on the video at our Cafe, for Day 16 of Dementia Awareness Month #DAM2020 #WAM2020, we are not only adding that video here, we are highlighting Jerry’s journey from diagnosis to now, by posting¬†two videos highlighting his incredible advocacy.

The first is a video recording of a presentation he gave at the ADI conference in Chicago in 2018. The second is a video that was made about setting up his local support group. It has been an incredible journey to partlt share with him; from diagnosis, to depression, to renewed purpose.

Thank you Jerry.

We are so glad DAI was the catalyst to help you see there is still a good life to live, in spite of dementia.

Jerry presents at the ADI Conference in Chicago

As a keynote speaker at the ADI Conference in Chicago in 2018, Jerry shared his deeply personal story, which included him sharing how he had been depressed and even suicidal after his diagnosis, and his passion became one of helping to stop other people’s lives being thrown in the bin after their diagnosis like his was!

People who become empowered to live positively and with renewed meaning and purpose is exactly one of the outcomes the original founders of DAI dreamed of. Life is short, so DAI works towards actively supporting people to get back to living their own lives, and also to have fun again.

Jerry Wylie, speaks on founding the Dementia Warriors.

Jerry often said that joining DAI saved his life, and attending a support group over zoom was the first time he had smiled or laughed since his diagnosis. He is now living the his life with true purpose ad passion, and we all applaud and congratulate him for having the tenacity to keep advocating, until this particular dream was achieved.

Well done Jerry, we hope other members may be inspired to follow you, and we are all very proud of what you have achieved, and how you continue to support families facing dementia.

Read the brochure about Jerry’s exciting Dementia Warriors support group.

Christine Thelker on why she is glad she found DAI #DAM2020

It is Day 14 of Dementia Awareness Month 2020 #DAM2020 and remarkably,¬†we’re almost half way through for our daily vlog/blog series.

For todays post, Christine Thelker from Canada shares with us all why she is glad she found Dementia Alliance International (DAI). She agrees that DAI has been Life Changing for her, and hears it has been for so many others, and Christine advocates for other people living with dementia in Canada and all over the world.

You should also check out her new website, and recently published book, For this I am grateful.

Thank you Christine. We are all glad you found DAI

Since you’re here…

… we’re asking readers like you to support our members, by donating to our organizaton.

With more than 50 million people living with dementia, and the Coronavisus pandemic causing everyone to operate in a virtual world,  our work has never been more important.

Every contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to our work of supporting people diagnosed with any type of dementia to live more positively, and with a greater sense of hope.  Thank  you.

Please join the Monday Science Podcast fundraiser to support more people with dementia like Christine.


New Report: Signalling Virtue, Promoting Harm

From the NDC Alliance: An important new report by NCD Alliance and Spectrum Research Consortium of preliminary findings and analysis of over 750 examples of how unhealthy commodity industries have been responding to the pandemic around the world. It has been published today to coincide with the Global Week for Action on NCDs, themed on accountability.

The report:¬†Signalling Virtue, Promoting Harm ‚Äď Unhealthy commodity industries and COVID-19¬†is now available to downloadable here:¬†

Background: This crowdsourcing initiative began in response to demand from people Рincluding members of the WHO Civil Society Working Group on NCDs Рraising concerning examples of unhealthy commodity industry practices during the early phase of the pandemic.

These examples are of activities undertaken or presented by businesses as a response to the COVID-19 crisis ‚Äď including corporate social responsibility initiatives, philanthropy, new marketing campaigns, and engagement in policy development and debates.

The report focuses on unhealthy commodity industries identified by respondents to the survey – tobacco, alcohol, ultra-processed food, sugar sweetened beverages, breast-milk substitutes, fossil fuels, and gambling.

The report is organised around four broad categories of strategic responses evident in multiple countries and across diverse industries, and references almost 200 examples based on the submissions received.

The four chapters are:

  • Adapting marketing and promotions, increasing availability
  • Corporate social responsibility and philanthropy
  • Pursuing partnerships, coveting collaboration
  • Shaping policy environments

Watch this space: This report is necessarily very preliminary Рgiven the tight timescales involved we couldn’t fit all of the examples received into the report, and more analysis is to come. These unhealthy commodity industries are so actively undertaking to infiltrate daily lives and influence policy. With policy responses to the pandemic evolving so rapidly, we felt it important to make this early analysis public to document these activities and illuminate the need for stronger protections for NCD prevention policy today and as part of COVID-19 responses and recovery plans. We are working hard to update the interactive map, and further outputs are also intended, keep an eye out for these to be developed.

Please keep monitoring and contributing: This report may inspire you to continue monitoring these industries and holding them to account, so the researchers invite you to share new examples or developments on previous examples shared via this form:

Tell the world: If you would like to share the report on social media, a sample message for inspiration is below (together with an image attached if you would like to use it):

Report by @SPECTRUMRes & @ncdalliance details examples of unhealthy commodity industries -like #alcohol, #tobacco, ultra-processed food & drink, are leveraging the #COVID19 #pandemic while their products contribute to #NCDs. Read more: #ActOnNCDs

Accountability¬†Workstream Webinar on 18 September: Lucy Westerman,¬†from the NCDA team¬†and¬†report co-author, will be presenting on the¬†report¬†during next week‚Äôs CS WG Accountability Workstream webinar in 18th September.¬†Please join to hear from Lucy and others discussing industry interference and¬†conflict¬†of¬†interest¬†both in and out of the context of the¬†pandemic, and for the launch of the¬†during which the joint CS WG¬†statement¬†“Protecting the¬†development and implementation of public health policies from undue influence of¬†unhealthy commodity industries‚ÄĚ.¬†Details and register here:¬†

We hope you find the report Signalling Virtue, Promoting Harm enlightening and useful for your advocacy.


Emily Tan Tan Ong shares why she is glad she found DAI

On day 8 of the #DAI Dementia Awareness Month series of blogs or vlogs on why members are glad they found DAI, and  why DAI is Life Changing, Emily (Tan Tan) Ong shares with us why she is glad she found DAI.

Emily also shares how DAI has so positively impacted her self avocacy and courage, and her advocacy for others also living with dementia in Singapore and beyond. #DAM2020

Thank you Emily. We are glad you joined DAI.


Reminder: the Monday Science Podcast Dementia Series is Fundraising for DAI