A guest blog from Philippa Tree – Senior International Officer
On the 21-24 April 2016, Alzheimer’s Disease International (an international federation of Alzheimer associations) held a conference in Budapest which brought together Alzheimer Associations, people living with dementia, researchers and many more people from across the world.
I was fortunate to attend this conference and to begin sharing Dementia Friends learning and best practices with countries worldwide.
During the conference, I held a global Dementia Friends meeting. This was a fantastic opportunity to get every country that is delivering, or currently developing a Dementia Friends programme together in one room.
We had representatives from Israel, Nigeria, Indonesia, Germany and the UK.
During the meeting I shared updates such as our resources which engage younger people and children with Dementia Friends, and our resources which our Dementia Friends Champions use to engage with BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) groups. We also shared successes and challenges with one another so that we can continue learning, improving and expanding the reach and impact of Dementia Friends.
I learnt more about different cultural aspects to consider with the development and delivery of Dementia Friends programmes in different countries, I also learnt of the obstacles that a lot of people face in their efforts to tackle the stigma of dementia, and to promote positive change.
Dementia is a health crisis that affects many people across the world. Even without looking at the statistics (but if you are interested, have a look here), it is clear when hearing people’s experiences that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, and unfortunately many countries have even further to go in changing perceptions and getting their government on board to address this crisis.
Creating a worldwide societal shift towards acceptance and inclusion of people affected by dementia isn’t going to be easy, but together I strongly believe that we can make a difference.
I look forward to seeing the global Dementia Friends movement grow, and hopefully the next time you hear from me, we will have doubled the number of countries we are collaborating with and we will be making even greater strides towards creating a dementia-friendly world.
If you have any questions about our global Dementia Friends movement please don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org