DAI visits Taiwan Province of China

Last week, invited as the Chair and CEO of DAI, and in my role as the Ambassador for Alzheimer’s Disease International in South East Asia , I visited Taipai. The invitation to visit and support TADA was from LiYu Tang, who is the Secretary General of the Taiwan Alzheimer’s Disease Association (TADA) 湯麗玉  台灣失智症協會秘書長. This image was taken on the last day, at the end of the public meeting.

The staff of TADA, and the many others involved in planning this trip were incredibly generous and hospitable hosts, and looked after my BUB and I well, and especially ensured we ate well. The other very important part of this trip was the services of a translator, and on the first meeting, a university professor was able to translate for our meeting which was incredibly helpful, as instead of meeting with only one or two people, about 20 of the staff were also invited.

On the next two days, a beautiful young woman called Victoria Chang was engaged to translate for my sessions, and in one part of the public meeting, I completely forgot I needed her, and spoke for so long it was almost impossible for her to follow! It was incredible to have her support, and her ability to follow me, when I was unable to follow my own notes or slides, made it even more amazing.

The goal for my visit was not specifically to raise awareness of dementia, but partly to empower other people diagnosed with dementia to become advocates, and to work with Taiwan to inform government, policy and services. In the process of my many meetings, the seeds were sewn for the first Dementia Working Group.

People with dementia who attended the session at the Family of Wisdom house, a centre for people with dementia to attend and be involved in many different activities, spoke out for the first time publicly of their own experiences after the session there. The next day, in my final public meeting, a gentleman who had travelled from afar, also spoke up, and has also been invited to become a member of the Dementia Working Group. It is a very exciting time for people with dementia in Taiwan.

My other meetings were with a number of government or city officials, and the President of TADA, and the aim was to not only give them insight of dementia from the inside out, but to discuss ways in which they could change the experience of dementia for those diagnosed, and on ways to collaborate with each other towards a dementia friendly and dementia accessible and enabling Taiwan Provice of China.

My schedule was incredibly busy…

Day 1: Depart Adelaide 2pm on April 19, and arrive on April 20 at 11:30am (sleep – only on the flight as somehow we mixed up the schedule, and arrived a day later than expected!), and check into the YMCA hotel.
Meeting 12.30-1.30pm with Shwu-Feng Tsay Director-General, Department of Nursing and Health Care, Ministry of Health and Welfare, and about 20 of their staff.

Day 2: Pick up at 8am
Meeting 1: 9-10am – Chi-Hung Lin, Commissioner, Department of Health, New Taipei City Government, and a number of his staff.
Meeting 2: 11.30am-12.30pm – Li-Min Hsu, Commissioner, Department of Social Welfare, Taipei City Government, and a number of staff

Lunch

Meeting 3: 2-4pm – held at the Family of Wisdom, a relaxed afternoon tea and presentation to family, staff and people living with dementia. I was welcomed and thanked by Li-Yu Tang, the Secretary General of

TADA. My translator Victoria Change learned here how I can no longer follow my own notes, so it was excellent preparation for her for the public meeting!

Day 3: Pick up at 8.50am held at The Home of Christ
Press conference, 9.30-10.00am
Welcome and introduction by LiYu Tang
Presentation by Te-Jen Lai, President of TADA
Presentation by Kate Swaffer: Human rights of people with dementia
Presentation by Yu-Chin Wu, Legislator
Presentation by Hui-Jiuan Chien, Director General, Department of Social and Family Affairs Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare
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Speech to the public, 10-11:30am with Facebook live broadcasting
Presentation by Kate Swaffer: Living Beyond Dementia
Question from the audience, Kate responds (with the support of Victoria, the incredible translator!)
Presentation by Zi-Long Ku, the Commissioner of Department of Social Welfare of Taoyuan City Government
Closing by Te-Jen Lai, President of TADA
Group photos

It was a very positive, but also very tiring few days, and I was honoured  and deeply humbled by these wonderful people, in particular this living with dementia who found the courage to speak out publicly for the first time. Thank you.

Kate Swaffer
Chair, CEO and Co-founder
Dementia Alliance International

Ps. I have added a collage of photographs of the events below. Our next blog, will be about the ADI conference in Kyoto, and brining DAI to Japan!