2011 Warsaw - European solidarity without borders
More than 470 delegates from nearly 40 countries gathered in Warsaw, Poland, to participate in Alzheimer Europe’s 21st conference, which took place on 6-8 October under the Patronage of Mr Bronisłlaw Komorowski, President of Poland and of the European Parliament.
Participants represented a wide spectrum of backgrounds within the field of dementia, including people with dementia, their carers, representatives of national Alzheimer associations, healthcare professionals, academics and researchers, as well as policy makers. The motto of this year’s conference was “European Solidarity without Borders”.
Welcoming delegates to the conference, the Chairperson of the Polish Alzheimer Association, Alicja Sadowska, reminded participants of the very special association which exists between the term solidarity and Central and Eastern Europe. Solidarity, she said, had changed the whole of Europe and she believes that European solidarity will change a lot for people with dementia. The Chairperson of Alzheimer Europe, Heike von Lützau-Hohlbein, also spoke of solidarity and illustrated significant achievements made in the last five years. She also emphasised her conviction that by standing together we can address the needs of people with dementia over the next five to ten years.
The conference programme focused on how societies can show greater solidarity with people with dementia and their carers. It also illustrated how Alzheimer organisations in all European countries have campaigned for greater inclusion and participation of people with dementia.
Throughout the two days, key note speeches highlighted issues such as what solidarity without borders means for people with dementia and their carers, the prevention, treatment and management of dementia, the value of diagnosis and dementia as a public health priority. These plenary presentations were made by:
- People with dementia: Archie Latta (Scotland), Marek Romecki (Poland) and Helga Rohra (Germany)
- Policy makers and civil servants: Geoff Higgins (Scotland), Florence Lustman (France) and Antoni Montserrat (European Commission)
- Health professionals and researchers: Sube Banerjee (United Kingdom), Maria Barcikowska (Poland), Alexander Kurz (Germany), Tadeusz Parnowski (Poland), Andrzej Szczudlik (Poland), Myrra Vernooij-Dassen (Netherlands)
- Representatives of Alzheimer Associations: Jean Georges (Alzheimer Europe), Maurice O’Connell (Ireland).
In addition, the parallel sessions offered over 90 different presentations on topics including psychosocial interventions, residential and community care, policy initiatives, family carers, behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia, the support of people with dementia and their carers, awareness campaigns and lobbying, the prevention of isolation and loneliness, effective communication, care evaluation, dementia strategies, end of life a, diagnosis and assessment, sexuality and relationships, legal systems and regulations.
A further four special symposia covered the following four areas: (1) primary care and the management of dementia, (2) biomarkers for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, (3) a year-long campaign to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and (4) research advances from the IMI PharmaCog project.
Many participants commented on the high quality of presentations as well as the great variety of covered topics. The plenary session on the value of diagnosis was singled out as particularly moving, as people with dementia shared their own journey of being diagnosed and living with dementia.
Last Updated: Wednesday 23 November 2011