Last Month saw the promotion of Dementia Awareness Month 2017 and with it came many events and activities to remind people living with dementia, their family and carers know that they are not alone, while at the same time, raise awareness, reduce stigma and increase community support.
Some of the events held throughout September included open days and support meetings at Dementia Australia Queensland regional offices, the 2017 Hand Heart Pocket Gala Evening at Brisbane Custom’s House, a national survey to understand the impact of stigma in relation to dementia, working with the University of Queensland’s Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) to produce a Dementia Special for issue three of ‘The Brain’ magazine, displaying the message ‘Dementia: You Are Not Alone’ to inbound commuters on the Story Bridge, and lighting the Story Bridge in Teal for World Alzheimer’s Day on the 21st September.
The feature event for Dementia Australia held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on the 11 September introduced international dementia expert Professor Steven Sabat, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Georgetown University, Washington, USA.
Professor Sabat has studied the cognitive and social abilities of people with Alzheimer’s disease in the moderate to severe stages, the persistence of selfhood, the subjective experience of having the condition, and how communication between someone with a diagnosis and their caregiver can be enhanced.
“Forget Memory Loss: think about the person” was the message from Professor Sabat at the lecture, drawing on previous research to point out that people with a diagnosis could in fact make new memories, make new friends and do new things, it is the responsibility of carers and family members to support and allow these possibilities to happen.
A Social Media Campaign featuring 30 quotes from 30 people affected by dementia in different ways were posted on Alzheimer’s Australia Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts nationally for the 30 days of September.
The campaign featured quotes from participants including Alzheimer’s Australia National CEO Maree McCabe, Alzheimer’s Australia National ambassador Ita Buttrose, Health Professionals, people living with a diagnosis, carers and family members of someone living with dementia all around the country.
Overall, September was a successful month for raising awareness for the more than 400,000 Australians living with dementia, with impressive amounts of visitors recorded on the Alzheimer’s Australia website and a record number of enquiries made via the National Dementia Helpline.