24th International Conference of ADI

Dementia: Engaging Societies Around the World

An enthusiastic and lively Singapore welcomed over 1,100 delegates from 65 countries to ADI's 24th international conference in March 2009. With temperatures reaching 35°C, crowds gathered to take part in the mass workout and Memory Walk organised by the Alzheimer's Disease Association of Singapore, which set in the motion the events for the week.

This enthusiasm continued throughout the conference, with a vibrant lion dance to mark the opening of the event and an encouraging speech from Singaporean government minister Mr Lim Boon Heng.

The three-day event included enlightening and moving presentations from speakers in keynote and parallel sessions, active workshops, lunch symposia, poster presentations and colourful information stands.

Strong emphasis was placed on quality of life, caring and creativity at this year's conference, with a particularly touching presentation from Tan Ching Hong on caring for her father. Those attending the event were made aware of the social, economic and global impact of dementia and Henry Brodaty dispelled some of the myths surrounding the effects of diet and lifestyle on dementia.

The workshops arranged by ADI gave participants the opportunity to share information, thoughts and ideas. During the workshop run by the 10/66 Dementia Research Group, attendees were asked to use the research findings of the group to lobby government ministers. Alzheimer associations from the Asia Pacific region were given the opportunity to share information and experiences of dementia in their country, providing delegates with an idea of the hard work being done throughout the region. Other ADI workshops included Global Strategy - Local Action, Strengthening your Alzheimer's Association and the last Stroud Symposia workshop, presenting the findings from the previous workshops as well as encouraging discussion on experiences with care service worldwide.

The voices of people with dementia were heard very clearly, with speakers including Myrna Blake from Singapore and Richard Taylor from the USA. A forum for people with dementia took place in a specially allocated quiet room where they were given the opportunity to air their views on working with national associations and their role as advocates.

Those attending the Gala dinner on the third day of the event were treated to an astonishing mask changing performance and music from a live band. ADI and Fondation Médéric Alzheimer used this occasion to present the award for Dissemination of Psychosocial Intervention Research. Mary Mittelman received the prize for her proposal 'Translating the NYU Caregiver Intervention from Research to Practise Settings'. An additional prize was awarded to Danny George for his submission, 'Can Intergenerational Volunteering Promote Quality of Life for Persons with Mild to Moderate Dementia?'

As ever, the ADI conference had a dynamic and welcoming atmosphere. The ability to exchange ideas between researchers, medical and care professionals, Alzheimer association staff and volunteers, people with dementia and carers from around the globe continues to make the ADI conference a unique and valuable experience.

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