To mark World Alzheimer’s Day on 21 September 2018 Dementia Australia, along with 22 other leading dementia organisations world-wide, has joined the #Every3Seconds program, an international awareness raising campaign led by the global peak body, Alzheimer’s Disease International.
The program, launched in Chicago during the 2018 Alzheimer’s Disease International conference earlier this month, drives home the alarming statistic that #Every3Seconds someone in the world is developing dementia.
Currently it is estimated there are more than 50 million people living with dementia globally. This figure is predicted to increase by 10 million in 2018. With these staggering numbers, program partners will call on communities and governments all over the world to commit to addressing this trillion-dollar disease.
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said the program highlights that dementia is the global health and social challenge of this century that needs a renewed and sustained focus by governments and communities world-wide.
“In Australia more than 425,000 Australians are living with dementia, with an estimated 250 people with dementia joining the population each day,” Ms McCabe said.
“Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to an estimated 1.1 million in 2056 in Australia.”
The program includes a series of 23 news-style films that have been produced through a unique partnership between ITN Productions and Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI). The films were previewed at the 33rd Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference in Chicago at the weekend and will be released globally, and in the individual member countries, to support Dementia Awareness Month in September.
The films capture stories from the many different dementia organisations around the world, include the voices of people impacted and combined, demonstrate the united commitment to increasing awareness about dementia and important messages that need to resonate globally – that dementia is not a natural part of ageing, but in fact a disease of the brain.
Themes covered discuss the stigma surrounding dementia that creates a major barrier for people accessing a timely diagnosis, the vital need for improved care and increased, quality support services.
Dementia Australia’s #Every3Seconds contribution brings to life the world-first innovations developed in Australia using cutting edge, virtual reality technology, interactive 3D games and apps aiming to build empathy in carers, increase understanding about dementia and how changes in the environment can make a huge difference to the quality of life and care of people living with dementia.
Doug Woods has cared for his wife Kathy for three years. He said at first it was very confronting but has embraced the technology, and said others should too.
“The addition of this sort of technology has helped me have a better understanding of how Kathy is seeing things,” Mr Woods said.
“Like looking into the bathroom for example…where it is all white…and not recognising the toilet.”
“By placing yourself in their position…you can now understand their concerns”
“The #Every3Seconds program is an opportunity to showcase Dementia Australia’s award-winning Virtual Dementia Experience™, EDIE (Educational Dementia Immersive Experience)™ VR workshops, The Dementia-Friendly Home™ app and The Virtual Forest™, a game for people living with dementia to enjoy,” Ms McCabe said.
“Dementia Australia has led the world in the application of technology to improving the lives of people impacted by dementia and the #Every3Seconds program is the perfect platform to showcase this internationally.
“The technology is transforming the quality of life of people living with dementia and influencing changes in practice in Australian dementia care.”
The #Every3Seconds program will deliver sustained messaging, throughout 2018, to governments across the world about how they can dramatically increase care and support for, and awareness and diagnosis, research and treatment of dementia, in response to the Global Plan on Dementia adopted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2017.
Maree McCabe presented at the conference in Chicago to showcase Dementia Australia’s world-leading technology to improve understanding about dementia and improve the quality of life and care for people living with dementia.
Dementia Australia’s #Every3Seconds film can be viewed at www.dementia.org.au.
More information about Dementia Australia’s technology can be found at www.dementialearning.org.au/technology
More information about #Every3Seconds can be found at www.alz.co.uk.