Getting involved with DAI

Meeting-Clip-ArtEach week Dementia Alliance International has the thrill of new members joining this advocacy and support group, of by and for people with dementia.

As such, we felt it important to focus our blog this week on what services we offer, what we have achieved, and more importantly, how you can become more involved.

We are soon adding a new page on the website called Get involved, with the numerous activities that you can join in, as well as opportunuties to become more actively involved in DAI.

For example, two very new DAI members, Mick Carmody and Gayle Harris, both from Queensland are now regularly co-hosting the new Café Le Brain AUSTRALIA, along with Kate Swaffer.

The next Café Le Brain NORTH AMERICA & UK – Online Memory Cafe in the USA time zone is to be held on and you can register here.

The next online Café Le Brain AUSTRALIA to be held in the Australian time zone now a monthly event is on Wednesday 19 November at 1.30pm AEST. You can register here.

During Dementia Awareness Month 2014, these new Australian members hosted the first Café Le Brain in Australia, which was exciting for DAIs, and I hope exciting for them. Whilst our numbers were low at this first cafe, and there was some confusion about who should register, it was a terrific start.

Celebrating some very good news, we have recently been approached by Alzheimer’s Disease International to collaborate with them as the peak consumer body for people with dementia. We are excited about this opportunity, and thrilled to have their support in this way.

It is especially important for new members, and also for our supporters receiving our weekly blogs and newsletter updates, to see what we have achieved, and I have listed as many as I can remember below.

Since 1 January 2014, we have achieved or are currently working on the following:

  1. Updated website, making it more user friendly and definitely ezasier for peole with dementia to sign up as members.
  2. Our Vision, Values, Missions and Core Beliefs for DAI; of course this may change over time, but we worked hard on these things, and feel they represent what other people with dementia would also want.
  3. Cafe Le Brain, our virtual support groups, now in two time zones.
  4. Active Facebook page, twitter account and YouTube channel.
  5. We are building on the Webinars at A Meeting of The Minds.
  6. We have published a weekly blog since 7 May 2014.
  7. We have a quarterly newsletter, The Advocate.
  8. Membership is in many countries now, and is increasing steadily, and will remain FREE. We need to build on membership in other countries, so they can set up and support new local Alliances for people with dementia in their own countries or regions.
  9. We have an elected Board, although do need more Board members to become more actively involved as a few cannot do all the work on their own.
  10. A memberhsip group of Circle of Friends – members (just a reminder, all people with dementia) who have started meeting to work on projects, e.g. educational resources and material. We love to welcome new members to this group, as well as nominations for teh Circle of Friends and as Board members from those of you who want a more active role in the organisation.
  11. We raised over $6000 in less than five months to sponsor five people to attend ADI2014 in Puerto Rico.
  12. These funds also allowed us to purchase a banner and purchase t-shirts for members and supports, to assist with marketing and fund raising.
  13. Six DAI members presented at ADI2014
  14. We set up and ran a professional stand promoting Dementia Alliance International at ADI2014; this took a huge commitment in time and energy to set up, and to run each day of the conference, but allowed us to highlight not only the abilities of people with dementia, but to network into other countries and organisations.
  15. We hope to raise funds to support people to attend ADI2015 in Perth next year.
  16. Our By Laws are complete.
  17. Our Strategic Plan is almost complete.
  18. Our 501c status as a not for profit organisation based in the USA is now complete: EIN is 27-3538654.
  19. We are in the process of setting up a bank account.
  20. Laura Bowley remains our Executive Director, a person without dementia who provides us with support as a volunteer. Thank you Laura.
  21. We are in the process of setting up a media watch, allowing members to respond to articles in the news, on issues such as the use of inappropriate language.
  22. We ran a very full Dementia Awareness Month program of activities, whoich were very successful. We included four Master Classes, and a Webinar being run in two time zones, as well as our regular Memory Cafés and weekly blog series.
  23. Our newsletter and many other articles have been translated into Spanish, French, Mexican, Japanese, and Bangladesh, and we are currently working with other countries including Taipei, Germany and Croatia.

Looking ahead, we are currently collaborating with others to set up some very exciting projects, as we develop our skill sets and commitment to the fact we can still function, albeit differently to the way we did before being diagnosed with dementia.

We will be adding resources and finding funding, and will achieve our current goals and beyond. We are also collaborating with a number of academics and universities to provide two subjects for universities to incorporate into their dementia courses.

We also are soon to commence work on providing two global resources, available to be downloaded on our website, the first being Communicating with people with dementia, the second being a Language Guidelines document, and intend to get them translated into at least the countries who have Alzheimer’s Associations or Societies.

Until then, you can download the Alzheimer’s Australia guidelines here> Alzheimers Australia Language Guidelines 2014