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Chris Roberts, Vice Chair of the EWGPWD, reports about the INDUCT summer school in Salamanca

Monday 25 September 2017

INDUCT is a project facilitated by INTERDEM. Its aim is to develop a multi-disciplinary, educational research framework for Europe, which hopes to improve technology and care for people with dementia, something I'm personally very interested in, and to provide evidence which will show how technology will improve the lives of people affected by dementia. We, three members of the European Working Group for People with Dementia (EWGPWD) and supporters, along with the student members and facilitators, got together in Salamanca, Spain, to present updates on the research progress of the 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) and to exchange knowledge and skills including our own knowledge as experts by experience in our dementia. During lectures, workshops and interactive group meetings, various topics concerning current technology for people affected by dementia were discussed. The topics ranged from recruitment to research to publishing tips to patenting. The involvement of us members of the EWGPWD after listening to the conversations and feedback was a real asset to the Summer School, all the ESRs were greatly inspired by our input and by our supporters’ knowledge. All said it was an invaluable source of first-hand information and experience which helps bring their textual knowledge to a practical level of understanding, proving yet again the value of collaboration and involvement of experts by experience in all things usually done 'for us' instead of 'with us’. It was invaluable for us too. We learn so much which helps us to live better lives and was an excellent experience finding out about all the work and research being conducted on our behalf which is so appreciated. Being involved also allows our needs and wants to be heard now, and what we may want or need in the future when we might not be listened to in the same way as now.  Research work and collaboration like this gives us hope where before there might have been little or none. People living with, and affected by, dementia become experts by experience in their own right. They bring their own unique contribution which can only add to the expert knowledge of all. It is refreshing to see that INDUCT, with the help and assistance of Alzheimer Europe and INTERDEM, has acknowledged this, and fully involves people living with, and affected by, dementia. Thank you INDUCT and especially the ESRs and facilitators that made this event happen. Myself (Chris Roberts, Vice Chair), Idalina Aguiar and Nina Balackova, with our supporters, Jayne Goodrick, Nelida Aguiar and Iva Coelho, attended the event.