World Alzheimer’s Month is the international campaign created and led by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI). Every September it works to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia.
As researchers, your discoveries are making a difference, in every corner of science. Today, on World Alzheimer’s Day, on behalf of NIHR Dementia Researcher, and all the people who benefit from your work, I want to take a moment to say “Thank you”. Thank you for making dementia, the focus of your work, thank you for all those years of studying, thank you for all those sleepless nights and lost weekends; thank you for caring and fighting, through the hi’s and low’s, you’re amazing, and while World Alzheimer’s Month is about raising awareness and challenging stigma, I think it should also be a moment to pause, and reflect and to give thanks – to everyone involved in beating dementia, particularly all of you.
Two out of every Three people globally believe there is little or no understanding of dementia in their countries, even here in the UK, there is still so much to do. Research is making a difference, and the impact of World Alzheimer’s Month is growing, but the stigmatisation and misinformation that surrounds dementia remains a global problem that requires global action – even in 2020 when there are so many other challenges going on across the World, most of which affect families living with dementia even more than others.
This year Alzheimer’s’ Disease International’s annual report, is entitled Design, Dignity, Dementia: dementia-related design and the built environment. It is released today, and it looks at design progress to date, best practice, pioneers and innovators across multiple environments including in peoples homes and domestic settings, day and residential care, hospitals and public buildings and spaces. The report provides a global perspective of dementia and it also looks to benchmark against progress made in the physical disabilities movement and demands the same progress is now made in design solutions for people living with dementia, calling for responses to be included in national governments’ response to dementia, including in their national plans.
So give yourself a high-five, keep doing what you so, take a look at the the 2020 report, and lets fight the stigma and remember that despite setbacks, and this being a long journey, it is worth the effort.
Adam Smith was born in the north, a long time ago. He wanted to write books, but ended up working in the NHS, and at the Department of Health. He is now a Programme Director in the Office of the NIHR National Director for Dementia Research (which probably sounds more important than it is) at University College London. He has led a number of initiatives to improve dementia research (which happens to include creating this website, Join Dementia Research and ENRICH), as well as pursuing his own research interests. In his spare time, he grows vegetables, builds Lego and spends most of his time drinking too much coffee and squeezing technology into his house.