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Former vice-chair of the EWGPWD, Alv Orheim, shares his experience of the Nordic Dementia Conference

Thursday 16 August 2018

I, Alv Orheim, left the European Working Group of People with Dementia (EWGPWD) in December 2017, but have not quite given up working for the dementia cause. This June my wife Berit and I were invited to take part in a Nordic Dementia Conference in Copenhagen, to talk about our experience with the EWGPWD. The overall topic of the conference was a more dementia-friendly society. When talking about our experience with the EWGPWD there are so many aspects that could be mentioned. Upon reflection we think the most important aspect has been that by establishing the EWGPWD is that people with dementia have been given a microphone or arena to speak up and be heard to a wide audience. The annual conference is one such arena. Access through AE’s network to researchers, and EU politicians are others. Then there is the exchange of knowledge and experience that takes place during the meetings, and also getting to know each other and be encouraged in that we are many who strive to make our societies more dementia friendly. The fact that many nations have established their own working groups tells us that such groups are vital to our cause, and vital to showing that people with dementia have an important role to play when it comes to forming dementia policies. The Copenhagen conference itself was very well organized and people from all the Nordic countries took part. We had a very good exchange of ideas and possible solutions to challenges that face us all, no matter which country we come from. An added bonus to my wife and myself was the chance to spend time with Karen and Lars Gustafsson from Sweden, our old friends from EWGPWD. Karen gave such a good presentation about living with dementia on the day 1 of the conference. It was great seeing them both again! It also brought back so many fond and fun memories from our time with the EWGPWD! So all the best to all of you good folks now in the group.

 Alv and Berit Orheim, Norway