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European Working Group of People with Dementia plays an active role in AE’s Conference in Berlin

Sunday 01 October 2017

AE’s European Working Group of People with Dementia (EWGPWD) played a very active role and contributed in many different ways to the success of the AE Conference in Berlin “Care today, cure tomorrow”.

On the day prior to the conference, the EWGPWD met in Berlin. All members of the group were present in the meeting. The group welcomed a new member from Finland and during the meeting prepared and rehearsed their contributions to the Conference, including the special symposium and their stand.

On Monday 2 October, members of the group participated in the AE Annual General Assembly, and its Chairperson, Helen Rochford-Brennan spoke about the relevance of involving people with dementia at national and European level. Then, the vice-chairs of the group together with the other members and AE staff, welcomed delegates with dementia registered for the conference and had a tour of the venue. This year 39 delegates with dementia participated in the conference in Berlin – which is a new record!

On day two of the conference one of the main highlights was a symposium organised by the EWGPWD “Living well with dementia “We are still here, I am still… ””. During the symposium four people with dementia participated and shared their perspectives and lived experience: Helga Rohra (Germany) spoke about: Employment I am still able to work. Amela Hajrič (Bosnia and Herzegovina), spoke about: Stigma, I am still experiencing stigma. Idalina Aguiar (Portugal), talked about: Social Media: I am still active on social media. Carol Hargreaves (Scotland, UK) spoke about Humour: I am still a person with a sense of Humour.

The positive message conveyed by all four speakers was that, although they meet with losses of competence and skills, they “continue to be themselves”, persons still able to contribute to society, still able to do things for themselves, still able to feel, laugh, work, take part in everyday life. In order to be able to do so, they felt that people with dementia need appropriate and timely support and a more inclusive society.

Helen Rochford-Brenan (Chair), and Chris Roberts (Vice-chair) together with his wife, participated in different plenary sessions on the topic of the impact of dementia in the family (Chris and Jayne) and in the current and future research priorities (Helen). Their speeches were very much welcomed by the audience and provided very valuable insights into their experiences of living with dementia. Also, Helga Rohra, member of the EWGPWD from Germany, and Jayne Goodrick (Chris’s wife), chaired parallel sessions on the topic of living with dementia and on dementia care training respectively.

The active participation of the members of the EWGPWD, and of delegates with dementia and carers and supporters, makes AE Conferences truly unique. We would like to thank all members of the EWGPWD and their supporters for their work and involvement in this event.