Additional ideas to improve dementia awareness

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In addition to the ideas detailed already, here are some more ideas to improve dementia awareness in society.

  • Events, like Memory Walks: These are usually aligned to specific days like World Alzheimer’s Day. They provide a good way to gather people for awareness sessions and activities, as well as get press coverage. A walk, if held on the road, may get noticed by passers-by who would not have attended a talk. Hand out brochures and use shirts printed with slogans to reinforce the message and extend the reach.
    Awareness camps can also focus on spreading awareness in the less privileged sections of society by choosing appropriate locations and date/ time. Local self government institutions and colleges can be contacted to have better reach and involvement.
  • Street Plays: These may be standalone or part of a larger outreach program. Plays are excellent for engaging passers-by who may stop to watch, or even participate. Short plays can be done by the volunteers themselves, in local languages. Members of local clubs or youths in villages can be encouraged to be part of such plays. An interactive format that invites audience participation can also be used. Street plays can be memorable and can reach segments of the community that may not come to attend a talk.
  • Newspaper and magazine articles: Daily newspapers, especially, are a good way to spread information as they form part of the morning ritual across several sections of society. Reporters and writers may write articles as part of the coverage for a hook (like World Alzheimer’s Day, or a conference, etc.), or as a general article the editor commissioned. Note, however, that in many cases the writers are not familiar with either dementia or care, and may misunderstand and misquote what interviewees say, and thus spread incomplete or wrong information. The chance of errors can be reduced by using e-interviews, or giving reporters material they can directly use (like a brochure or a press-release).
  • TV interviews/ shows: Again, a powerful way, but interviewees need to be careful about what they say and how it may sound when edited, because typically the interviews/ TV shows are edited.
  • Sharing information through websites, blogs, videos, etc.: This is partly discussed in the topic of using technology for awareness. Additionally, there may be student projects, such as short videos created as part of a course’s project. Read about some possible short projects here.
  • Including dementia as part of related awareness drives: Using opportunities like the above, but attaching them to other related causes and their events, like geriatrics, elder abuse, mental health, etc.
  • Paid advertising and campaigns: Content shared through these can be controlled, but are an expensive route and currently not being used in India.
  • Integrate dementia into other creative work: If you are creating a movie or writing a book, consider including persons who have dementia as part of the people you depict. Such a person may or may not be an important character. Just the presence of someone with dementia in a story makes dementia seem more real and common. It improves exposure to the fact that dementia is a serious medical illness and the possibility that it can affect us and people around us.
  • Talk openly about dementia in various forums, such as forums where you discuss work-life balance or other such topics: The more people talk about dementia, the more people are willing to accept it and understand it. Experience sharing becomes easier for everyone.

(A general discussion on how potential contributors can select projects and contribute can be seen at: Action Areas to Contribute to, and Possible Approaches )

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Resources: If you want to help caregivers/ spread dementia awareness