Conduct Dementia Awareness Programs (includes download)

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One way to spread awareness about dementia and related care is conducting awareness programs. Here information on dementia is presented to an audience. This is followed by discussions to resolve any doubts, remove misinformation, and suggest ways to get more information or support.

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Suggested coverage of program

The program usually includes a presentation and discussions.

The presentation coverage has to be tuned to the audience, and makes assumptions of what the audience already knows and appreciates, what depth of knowledge they need, and what they may use their dementia awareness for. It also has to be tuned for the audience language/ literacy levels.

A typical presentation would include basic information about dementia, such as the symptoms involved, how cases vary, underlying diseases, treatments available, progression and the changing symptoms, who it may affect, and an indication of prevalence. On the caregiving aspect, it could include the type of care activities, and how these change over time, an indication of how the caregiving role can be planned and the adjustments it may need, typical challenges faces, types of services to look for, how to get support, etc. Given that there is misinformation, myth, and stigma around dementia, an awareness presentation can also directly address these and correct the misunderstandings people may have. Additionally, the presentation can include how others can help, and a larger understanding of what needs to be done, along with references and resources.

Follow-up discussions should address any doubts and suggest future actions relevant to the audience.

See Resources below for a presentation that can be used (download available)

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What conducting an awareness program requires, and how to contribute

Some key requirements for arranging and conducting an awareness program (not intended to be a complete list)

  • Suitable place to hold the program, including any A-V equipment required (Necessary)
  • The presentation to be shown, appropriately modified to suit the target audience and available time slot (Necessary)
  • The team that will make the presentation and answer queries. They must be well-informed about dementia and care, and able to handle queries sensitively and correctly. They should be familiar with the presentation(Necessary)
  • Supporting medical doctors, either as part of the team conducting the program, or as persons who can be referred to in case some audience members have follow-up questions and need referrals (Necessary)
  • Program coordination (venue, experts, transport, etc.)(Necessary)
  • Funds for the above (hiring fees, honorariums and travel reimbursements for team, other costs) (Necessary)
  • Target audience identification and reaching out to them (examples: schools and colleges, local seniors clubs, social clubs, religious communities, residential communities, old age homes, professional bodies, etc.) (Necessary)
  • Reputed entities willing to co-sponsor/ host the program, such as a well-known hospital, college, etc. (Desirable)
  • Brochures and information booklets that can be handed out to supplement the program ((highly desirable)
  • Suitable information on other resources, such as memory clinics ((highly desirable)
  • Suitable systems for streamlining record capture and follow-ups (highly desirable)
  • Suitable systems to gather data for analysis/ research to assess reach/ effectiveness of the program (nice to have; may also be useful to get funding)

Conducting awareness programs is one of the best ways to spread dementia awareness, and awareness is the foundation for any improvement in the support available to families living with dementia. Contributors can find ways to increase such programs and reach out to more people, and help with a specific scheduled program, or through a series of such programs. (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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Additional note for some India-specific aspects

  • Local language and idioms need to be integrated into the presentation. It would be good to hold programs in languages other than English. Target audience profile needs to be kept in mind. Using some audio and video clips or role plays may help. Try to get feedback and data to refine awareness presentations so that they are better tuned for a local audience (use of local languages, idioms, local concerns, etc.)
  • Misinformation and stigmas may need to be directly addressed as part of the presentation and in the discussions later.
  • Continued engagement must be encouraged, especially given the poor awareness levels and that people may hesitate to contact again for clarifications or advice. Information booklets and other material may also help.

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Here is a comprehensive presentation on dementia and caregiving which can be downloaded and used for any dementia awareness program. The presentation is only for educational purposes, and is not a medical document. While the presentation assumes the context of India, it could be useful as a general awareness presentation anywhere. The presentation was made some years ago, but the information remains relevant for the current context. The presentation is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

You can view the document at Slideshare if the viewer below does not work. (Or click here to download the PDF.)

You can also download the presentation here

This presentation is released by me under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License license. This means you can use it for non-commercial purposes so long as you include the copyright line “(c) Swapna Kishore, 2010”. If you create derivative works, they should also be made available under a similar license. For further information on copyright, go to this link. For uses outside the scope of the license, contact me.

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What Next

If this way of contributing seems suitable for you, see how active a role you want. If you are taking the lead, put together a team of interested persons and plan how you will proceed. If you want limited involvement, contact existing dementia bodies in your city and ask them how you can be part of such programs.

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Pages in this section:

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

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