For World Alzheimer’s Month 2018, we’re looking into the stigma surrounding the disease and the people working hard to break it down
September is World Alzheimer’s Month, an annual event in which campaigners from around the world raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds the disease. In the
UK, a need for education and misguided stereotyping and media shock tactics all play a role in the stigma people living with dementia experience.
Although there is much work still to be done, there are organisations working hard on the ground to create a more inclusive society. The National Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) is one such group, comprised of more than 350 local alliances around the country who connect, share best practice, and take action in their communities.
One local alliance leader, Gina Awad, founder of the Exeter DAA in Devon, has recently been awarded with a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her efforts to inspire businesses and organisations to work towards a more dementia-friendly city.
Gina, who became passionate about dementia care while studying for her BSc in Health and Social Care with the Open University, started the alliance to fill the gap in information transmission between dementia services and those who need them.
Inspired by her studies, she started leading the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friend sessions. It was during these that she realised that although there were resources available to people, information about them wasn’t readily accessible.
Never one to rest on her laurels, Gina started looking for solutions to this communication issue, discovered the DAA and after finding that Exeter didn’t have an alliance of its own, built it from the ground up, on a voluntary
Gina Awad, founder of the Exeter DAA in Devon