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:
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.