From Awareness to Action Week: Will it make a difference?

A few weeks ago I was interviewed for an article in OX Magazine UK. One question from the journalist who interviewed was particularly interested in my thoughts about the renaming of Dementia Awareness Week in the UK, which commences next week, where it is transformed into Dementia Action Week. Below is an excerpt from the article specific to that.

‘I asked what she made of this year’s transition from Dementia Awareness Week to Action Week and her response was unequivocal. “The new name Dementia Action Week seems to imply that it will move from rhetoric to tangible and meaningful action, and more importantly, will actually mean tangible change. I continue to question what all this attention via the online space actually does. An awareness day, week or month, to date, has done little to change my life, nor the vast majority of lives of the members of Dementia Alliance International, who I meet each week.”

She continued, “Awareness campaigns may be good for fundraising, but at what personal cost are they to those of us diagnosed? More often, the campaigns are based on the tragedy and ‘suffering’ of dementia, keeping yet another myth alive that it is not possible to live a good life with dementia.”

You can read the full article I was interviewed for on page 103 of OX Magazine:

Click to access OX_May_2018_ONLINE.pdf

Dr Shibley Rahman also wrote a piece just this week, Do dementia actions speak louder than words?, and this article resonated greatly:

‘If you say that “actions speak louder than words”, you mean that people’s actions show their real attitudes, rather than what they say. Words can hurt and cause distress, and, yet despite the well funded campaigns for dementia empowerment and engagement, newspapers continue to be littered with headlines referring to ‘dementia sufferers’ or ‘dementia victims’.’ 

I can only hope this new branding of the upcoming Dementia Awareness Week, to one of Action, will  make a tangible difference to all of us, as campaigns like this, with new words or themes, are in fact, not at all cheap.

So, moving from Awareness to Action Week: Will it make a difference? Let’s hope so.


12 thoughts on “From Awareness to Action Week: Will it make a difference?

  1. A name by any other name with the same mission is just a play on words. Let me see a major discussion on bio markers a new approach to hospice/palliative.


  2. Good article, Kate: your response was spot on. I believe the actions of so many of us living with dementia, specially those such as yourself who has a very public face creates more awareness of the real story of dementia that any awareness campaigns. The community know there is something called dementia, with vague concepts of what it is – the many advocates demonstrate the truth behind the words. Keep up the good work.


    • Thank you… I’d really like to see what the cost is globally to run this and other campaigns to find out at least two things: 1. Is it value for money? 2. Does it make a difference to people facing dementia (or any other illness, if not a dementia campaign)? Evaluation of most of these awareness or now ‘action’ campaigns is extremely elusive!


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