TADA’s dementia advisory group: a rights based approach

TADA’s Dementia Advisory Group.

LiYu Tang is the Secretary General of Taiwan Alzheimer’s Disease Association (TADA). She holds a Master of Science in Psychiatric Nursing from the School of Nursing at National Taiwan University and has written several papers on issues surrounding dementia. She was recently featured as a guest speaker for ADI and Dementia Alliance International’s (DAI) joint webinar, ‘Dementia & rights: from principles to practice‘.

In this case study, ‘Dementia Advisory Group brings TADA Chinese Taipei to a new era of human rights’ from the World Alzheimer Report 2019, LiYu writes about the work that TADA has undertaken to establish a successful dementia advisory group in Chinese Taipei, as well as the problems and rewards that have come along the way.

During the joint webinar with ADI and DAI, LiYu touched on one of these difficulties, saying: “It is difficult to involve people with dementia to join dementia advisory groups; stigma is a very important factor. We only have one dementia advisory group in Taiwan but we hope in the future, more people will join this group and more groups in Taiwan.

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Young Carers Awareness Day

by Annie Bliss, ADI Communications and Policy Manager

Globally we know that the number of people living with dementia is around 52 million and is set to triple to 152 million by 2050. We also know that every year, 82 billion hours are spent providing informal, unpaid care by family members in the home and that over 70% of this care is provided by women. (To put this in perspective, 82 billion hours is equivalent to 40 million full-time jobs).

Despite having these figures, something we know less about is young people providing this type of care.

One of the reasons we have so little information on this is that young people caring for a parent or relative with dementia do not typically self-identify as a ‘young carer’. This is common across other areas of health, and unfortunately prevents young people from accessing support services that can be crucial for them to cope with their caring responsibilities and look after their own well-being.

Youth participants in the Home Music Programme, set up by Alzheimer’s Indonesia (ALZI)
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Meera Pattabiraman, Chair of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), on recent policy development around dementia

Meera Pattabiraman, Chair of ADI Member Alzheimer’s & Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), writes about ARDSI’s successful engagements with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India, a country where over 5 million people live with dementia.

Alzheimer’s & Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) has been diligently following up with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare since we submitted the Dementia India Strategy Report to then Health Minister, Sri. J P Nadda, last September. As we have a new Health Minister, it became imperative that we bring to his attention the mandate of the WHO’s Global Action Plan calling for all countries to develop their own national dementia plans.

Dr Radha Murthy, Vice Chair of ARDSI (right) and Meera Pattabiraman, Chair of ARDSI (centre), handing over the request for a national dementia plan to India’s Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan.
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Māori, Mana and Mate Wareware: Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust and its experience in supporting Kaumātua with Dementia

The Rauawaawa Kaumatua Charitable Trust in Kirikiriro, NZ. Photo courtesy of the Rauawaawa Kaumatua Chartiable Trust Facebook page.

On World Alzheimer’s Day 2019, ADI released the World Alzheimer Report 2019: Attitudes to dementia. Within the report, there are number of chapters that highlight some of the challenges and innovative responses to dementia within Indigenous populations around the globe.

Rangimahora Reddy and Pare Meha of the Rauawaawa Kaumātua Charitable Trust, as well as Dr Etuini Ma’u of the Waikato District Health Board and Professor John Oetzel of the University of Waikato, contributed this piece that delves into the complexities surrounding diagnosing mate wareware (dementia) in Māori communities and how tailored cultural programmes can aid in supporting the individual and their whānau (family).

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Islamic values in dementia care with Dr Heriawan and Amalia Fonk-Utomo

Dr Heriawan, Amalia Fonk-Utomo and DY Suharya at WISH Qatar 2018

On 12 November 2018, ADI facilitated a seminar on Islamic values in dementia care at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) 2018 in Doha, Qatar. ADI’s Asia Pacific Regional Director DY Suharya invited geriatrician Dr Heriawan and Amalia Fonk-Utomo, Chairperson for Stichting Alzheimer Indonesia Nederland, to present. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to spread global best practice in dementia care with a local relevance. In this blog, Dr Heriawan and Amalia share their thoughts on hosting this insightful seminar.

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Scotsman’s message of hope to Japan

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As Glaswegian James McKillop strode towards Arrivals in Tokyo airport last November, he read the customs sign. Had he anything to declare? Yes – he had a positive message of hope and the strong belief in the right to live well for almost 5 million people with dementia in Japan.

James – his journey

Now 75, James was diagnosed with dementia at 59. After recovering from the shock and encouraged by staff from Alzheimer Scotland, he realised that he could still lead a fulfilling life. The challenge facing him was to find his voice to express his determination to do so.

Soon, James was talking about his experiences candidly in venues ranging from care homes to conferences. He became a key founder member of the groundbreaking Scottish Dementia Working Group in 2002. The Group, led by people with dementia, works towards making life better for people living with dementia.

James’ journey to Japan started when he met the NHK TV Director Yuji Kawamura in Glasgow. Yuji’s follow-up programme ‘Nothing About Us, Without Us!’ on the Scottish Dementia Working Group had a big impact, as the first Japan Dementia Working Group was formed the following month.

Now James, accompanied and supported by his loyal wife Maureen, was in Japan with his message of hope. He had been invited to appear at two ‘Heart Forums’ in Tokyo and Osaka. The theme on both occasions was ‘A new dawn – people living with dementia mapping out their destiny’. The message from James: to exchange learning and share lived experiences.

Two cultures, one experience

James was soon sharing his personal journey of 15 years living with dementia. Speaking directly, James admitted his initial shock on receiving the diagnosis and the dark days that followed and spoke about the possible roles and opportunities for people living with dementia within their community and in society at large. His audiences in Tokyo and Osaka were deeply moved.

Two founding members of the Japan Dementia Working Group also spoke. First, Tomofumi Tanno, a 41-year-old with a two year old diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, provided an almost mirror image of the experiences of James’ own journey. Next, Kazuko Fujita, 54, living with dementia for the past 8 years, said that her initial experiences had been similar. For James, Tomofumi and Kazuko, the months following a diagnosis of dementia were blank and bleak with no support. Such a diagnosis can have a huge impact on people with dementia and families, particularly when the community all around lacks awareness and understanding.

Breaking the silence

Someone in the audience asked, “How did you break through the period of despair and isolation?” Tomofumi said that meeting other people living with dementia gave him hope and purpose, and above all encouraging smiles.

Another person asked how to lead a fulfilling life with dementia. Tomofumi answered: “Once out of the blank period and hopeful of a fulfilling life, it is vital to speak up and speak out. As dementia is not a visible condition, those who live with it have to make their needs known.” James added that his “Helpcard” he carries has been very useful, which states that he is living with dementia and what his needs might be.

Tomofumi created the ‘Orange Door’ in his hometown of Sendai to provide a welcoming meeting place by and for those living with dementia, offering a listening ear, guidance and a sense of hope. Kazuko launched a local support group ‘Clover’ in her region Totorri, working for and with people with early-onset dementia. James co-founded the Scottish Dementia Working Group. Their actions remind us that people with dementia are agents for change and improvement. By cashing in on their lived experience, they are leading the way towards a better life for their peers and a more dementia friendly society by influencing policy.

Dementia – we are all in it together

Kumiko Nagata, a panelist, said that dementia is everybody’s business now. In Japan, 1 in 5 will have had direct experience of dementia by 2025. She emphasised the need for meeting people with dementia, if only to hear their voices and aspirations.

 James asked his audiences:

  • If your mother developed dementia, how would you like her to be treated by society?
  • If you yourself develop dementia at some time in the future, how would you like to be treated by society?

Looking to the future

To James’ astonishment he found that his Japanese peers shared the same experiences, mirroring his frustrations, fears and hopes to create a dementia friendly world, a better life ahead for the current 46 million people living with dementia worldwide – and for the many millions to follow.


By Dr Mayumi Hayashi from King’s College London and James McKillop, who is living with dementia

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