The Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), a non-profit advocacy and education organization, hosted its “Re-Imagining Dementia” conference which featured insight into the current state of dementia. Popular topics included discussions around changing current legislation and policies, creating dementia-inclusive communities, addressing societal stigma and implementing beneficial technologies that increase engagement and empathy.
The conference provided insight into the lives of those living with dementia, their caregivers and health providers. A unique aspect of this conference was the complete inclusion of all of these stakeholders who were equally represented throughout the conference with many DAA members joining experts on panels and nearly each session included insight from someone living with dementia. Other aspects included the incorporation of “ramps”, coined by dementia expert and speaker, G. Allen Power, such as tape that could lead those living with dementia safely around the conference.
Another way, stigmas and misconceptions were challenged was through an art exhibition that featured over 40 various works, all donated by people living with dementia. The “Thriving & Inspiring thru Heart and Art” exhibition was hosted to show the enjoyment of creative expression and to highlight the exceptional talents of these artists, and encourage people to look beyond the disease.
One of the more interactive pieces of the DAA conference was the Living Well Tech Expo. The Living Well Tech Expo featured various organizations with technologies that are helping those living with dementia and to re-imagine dementia.
Organizations showcasing different technologies ranged from engagement-amplifying tools like Eversound to interactive products for older adults from Ageless Innovation, a robotic pet company and It’s Never 2 Late, a company that uses smart technology to increase engagement. Other companies that took part in the expo included Embodied Labs, a company who is helping caregivers and providers build new skills through virtual reality; MapHabit, a company that uses visual maps to help those suffering from memory disorders; MemorySparx, a company that helps communities deliver personalized care; Mentia, a company that uses 3D technology to create familiar spaces; Memories by Design, a company that creates digital heirlooms and Heart Legacy, a company that helps communities share resident stories and amenities through video.
The DAA conference’s greatest strength was in its ability to unite all the groups that represent the ongoing battle against dementia, from those living with it to those looking to find a cure. The conference is ideal for those who seek a comprehensive look into the ecosystem that it takes to make meaningful change in the fight against this disease ranging from societal acceptance, to changes in medical communities and current policies.
The DAA is a collection of people living with dementia, care partners, friends and dementia specialists working towards creating dementia-inclusive communities, nationwide. Through education, the organization works to change the stigma associated with people living with dementia and advocates for practices that support their inclusion into society. These tactics include identifying beneficial technologies, connecting and engaging people, and promoting person- and relational-centered person care.
For more information about the DAA, please visit their website.