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Alzheimer Iceland introduces its newly-formed working group of people with dementia

Saturday 25 May 2019

Earlier this year (January 2019), the Icelandic working group of people with dementia (IWGPWD) held its first meeting. The idea of having such a working group had previously been discussed within Alzheimer Iceland, in recent years, but finding participants had been unsuccessful.

Things started to move forward at the 28th Alzheimer Europe Conference (#28AEC), in October 2018, in Barcelona, Iceland had a representative with dementia, for the first time - a step that reflects the changing views on dementia and the abilities of people with dementia in Iceland. This representative was able to gain some insight into the work of the European Working Group of People with Dementia (EWGPWD) and immediately wanted to do something similar at home. He is Stefán Hrafnkelsson (pictured, with the current Chairperson Ellý Katrín Guðmundsdóttir and Vice-chairperson Jónas Jónasson).

So far, there are six people with dementia involved, together with their spouses. The group has already met five times and is working on setting clear goals and ambitions.

Already there has been interest from, and coverage in, the media. Members have also been invited to participate in research at the University of Reykjavík, and have received requests to guest lecture at the University of Iceland in autumn 2019, on the course “Dementia: an introduction for professionals”, which is taught at a graduate level. Furthermore, the group is taking active part in planning the Annual Conference hosted by Alzheimer Iceland on 21 September, to commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day.

A few members of the group are also planning on attending the 29th Alzheimer Europe Conference (#29AEC) in The Hague this October, to make valuable connections. Everyone included has high hopes for the group and looks forward to continuing working towards a more dementia-inclusive community in Iceland.

“This is the first time that we manage to do this and now the group counts 12 people (6 couples).  We are looking forward to working with them and we know how important their opinion is regarding needs and hopes. In the end, we will do better in our work”, said Árni Sverrisson, Chairman of Alzheimer Iceland.