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October 2014: Raoul Grönqvist reports on Finland’s “Memory Activists”

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On 18 October, Raoul Grönqvist, outgoing member of the European Working Group of People With Dementia (EWGPWD) and his wife and carer, Milja Ahola sent the following report to their EWGPWD colleagues in lieu of their attending the meeting in Glasgow on 19 October. It concerns “Memory Activists - the Finnish working group of people with dementia and their caregivers”:

“During its’ first year of activity the group has worked enthusiastically and with impressive results.

1)   In a meeting in February the group drafted a commentary titled “Every person with dementia and their caregivers has a right to be informed about the nearest memory association”. In the commentary the group highlighted the importance of peer support and pinpointed some of the challenges in getting information about local memory associations.

The commentary has been published on the website of the Alzheimer Society of Finland (Muistiliitto) and the local associations have used it for local advocacy. In addition, two members of the group handed it over to Tuula Haatainen, the deputy CEO of the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.

The group also decided on a new name and motto: Memory Activists – Active participants in society. 

2)   In an April meeting, the Memory Activists discussed the positive and negative attitudes associated the disease and generated story ideas for the September issue of the Magazine of Alzheimer Society of Finland.

The work resulted in a story about tracking devices entitled “Living my own life – despite the disease”. In the story, people with dementia and their family members tested tracking devices and shared their experiences.

3) In the August meeting, the Memory Activists discussed the criteria for good care. Their opinions and experiences were presented to the working group that is currently drafting an updated version of these criteria. The Alzheimer Society of Finland will publish them in 2015 and the document will be used as a tool by staff working with people with dementia.

4) In September, the president of Alzheimer Society of Finland, MP Merja Mäkisalo-Ropponen presented commentary from the Memory Activists in the Finnish Parliament. Parliament was discussing a proposal for a new law regarding rights of self-determination of people with dementia.

5) The Alzheimer Society of Finland published a Memory Activists’ commentary on the Memory Week (Finnish version of World Alzheimer’s Month). The commentary was titled “Who owns my life?” and emphasised the importance of listening to people with dementia, when making decisions concerning them. The group will meet for the next time in December.



Last Updated: Friday 20 February 2015