Dementia Awareness Month 2014 In Review

Richard Taylor, Susan Stephens, Janet Pitts, Sid Yudowitch, Kate Swaffer & John Sandblom
Richard Taylor, Susan Stephens, Janet Pitts, Sid Yudowitch, Kate Swaffer & John Sandblom

Dementia Awareness Month 2014 (#DAM2014) this year was the best I have experienced, and as the editor of Dementia Alliance International, I thought it opportune to review the activities of September, as well as highlight a few other very positive things that have come to fruition during #DAM2014 around the world.

This image was taken at ADI2014 in Puerto Rico earlier this year, and I have added as it reminds me of how far we have come as an advocacy and support group, of, by and for people with dementia.  Our dream is to one day host a conference, where we can have a much larger group photo taken!

The first thing I would like to report on is the Alzheimer’s Australia updated and very comprehensive Language Guidelines, that became available today Alzheimers Australia full language guidelines 2014.

Our Master Classes were a success, and feedback has been very positive, with the only negative I have heard so far being that on at least one recording, poor sound made it difficult for people to view and understand on our YouTube channel afterwards. Please accept our apologies; we will do everything we can to ensure that does not happen next time, but as is so often the case, technology does not always run smoothly.

So, our sincere thanks to our members, Sue Stephen, Sid Yudowitch, Dr Jennifer Bute, David Kramer MD, John Sandblom, Richard Taylor PhD, Chris Roberts, Dena Dotson, Janet Pitts  and Kate Swaffer [me!], for giving up so much time and putting in so much effort to present these Master Classes. The committment not only to prepare the presentations, but to be willing to give of themselves to others so willingly – and publicly –  is precious and priceless.

Please go to our YouTube channel to watch them again, or to view any of the other presentations we have online, such as many of those made at the ADI conference in Puerto Rico.

On September 23 we held A Meeting of the Minds Webinar, Dispelling the Myths of Dementia, presented by Richard Taylor, PhD in the USA time zone, and another version of Dispelling the Myths of Dementia on September 26 at AEST, hosted by me.

Café Le Brain on 16 September was hosted by Teresa Zawicki, a previous member of Dementia Alliance International’s Circle of Friends, for people living with and without the symptoms of dementia are always welcome to attend. If you would like to host a dementia support group, you can show this cafe live on your computer so that your group can participate. If you are caring for someone at home, you can both join in!

Alzheimer’s Disease International, as well as most of the Alzheimer’s Associations/Organisations held special events for family carers and people with dementia as well as professionals, many hosted Memory Walks and other fundraising events, and generally speaking, it was a very positive month for people with dementia globally.

Globally, we are starting to have a collective voice about the things that matter to us, and others are starting to listen.  If you wish to present on a topic of interest or significance to your own experience of living with dementia, or as a family carer, then please do send in an Abstract for the ADI2015 conference in Perth next year.

The process has been made more dementia friendly for those ofg us who cannot work out hows to upload one on the online system; that is, you can send an Abstract as a word or PDF document.

You will see there are a number of people with dementia who are keynote speakers next year; although there has occasionally been one person with dementia as a keynote speaker at an ADI conference, this is the firest time each day of the conference will include one of us. Personally, I am delighted that ADI have engage witho us, and have so willingly listened to our right to be so fully included. Thank you.

Dreaming is as much an art as living… and we have already realised many of our dreams.

Dementia Alliance International © 2014
Editor: Kate Swaffer