Frankie Greenwood’s reflections from the International Dementia Conference

‘Everybody’s Oma…’

Photo retrieved from : HammondCare Twitter

Jason Van Genderen, son of the much beloved Oma, and creator of “Everbody’s Oma” gave an incredibly moving presentation “Letting go bravely with love” about his family’s journey with his mother (known as Oma) who lived with dementia. Jason spoke of the both the beautiful, playful, and touching moments throughout their journey, and of challenges and difficulties that dementia brings to the person with dementia, and those around them. Jason said that “dementia takes, but dementia can give again” and reminded us that “relationship-based care wins every time.” Jason spoke not only of the challenges of dementia, including “learning to love through a window” through lockdown, but also of the joy, laughter and love that can continue to be shared.

  … and so much more!’

Other speakers and topics throughout the conference included Professor Craig Ritchie from University of Edinburgh, who spoke about “The Brain Health Movement: A paradigm shift to cure Alzheimer’s disease”; Dr Chris Nowinski from the USA speaking about “Changing the game: Minimising head trauma in sport” and Maggie Beer AO speaking about “Cooking up a storm for change at the aged care kitchen table”. There were also insightful panel discussions on the topics of; “First Nations and dementia: A voice for spiritual and cultural wellbeing”; the HammondCare cottage model of care and the Greenhouse Project, a USA project that creates “non institutional eldercare environments”; and a more in-depth discussion about head trauma in sport.

It was an absolute privilege to attend IDC2022, not only as a delegate, but to be able to share the work of bold and the amazing bold partners who have joined us on the project since we launched in 2019. To be part of the global conversation and work that seeks to improve the lives of people living with dementia is a testament to all of our partners who have so keenly engaged in the bold project, and who have taken the bold values out into communities across Scotland and create spaces for all people living with dementia to flourish.