Featuring Theresa Flavin: IWD inspiring DAI woman for 2023

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Featuring Theresa Flavin: IWD inspiring DAI woman for 2023
Author: Admin
Published: Monday, March 6th 2023

International Women's Day 2023 is upon us, and the campaign theme this year is #EmbraceEquity #IWD23

For International Women's Day and beyond, let's all fully #EmbraceEquity. Equity isn't just a nice-to-have, it's critical for us all. A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society's DNA, and it's crucial we all understand the difference between equity and equality. The IWD 2023 campaign theme drives worldwide understanding about why Equal opportunities aren't enough! Read more about the #IWD2023 campaign here.

On International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023, DAI wishes to introduce you to the Theresa Flavin, who is a passionate advocate and activist for the human rights and dignity of all persons living with dementia.

There are currently more than 57 million people diagnosed with dementia globally, and an estimated 10 million new cases every year. Dementia disproportionately impacts women and girls, in terms of numbers of women diagnosed versus men, and women and girls making up more than 2/3rds of unpaid family care partners. Theresa was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimers in 2012 aged 47. She has 5 children ranging in age from late thirties to 18 years old.  

Theresa began her advocacy journey with the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration and was immediately struck by the inconsistency of practice for the involvement of people living with dementia in the research community. With a professional background in risk management and finance, the difference between the ‘age care’, advocacy and research landscape and the finance landscape was startling.

Theresa was also surprised by the exclusion of people living with dementia from all of the decision making in relation to how policy, research and services were developed and implemented.


Since then, Theresa has been an extremely active and vocal advocate for the true and genuine – equitable - inclusion of people living with dementia in all aspects of both community life and the supports designed ‘for us’. Theresa is a particular advocate for supported decision making, development of a mandatory lived experience framework to support consistent and quality inclusion of people living with dementia in all aspects and stages of any product service or policy designed to ‘assist us’, and the true recognition and prevention of sexual assault of older people, and people living with dementia. She is also a member of the Sexual Assault and Dementia Special Interest Group, inspired and chaired by DAI co-founder Kate Swaffer, hosted by OPAN.

Theresa has been selected to bring her particular style of advocacy to the United Nations Open Ended Working Group for the rights of older people in New York in April 2023, where she intends to put forward the voice of the more than 57 million people currently living with dementia, front and centre with the support of Global Alliance for the Rights of Older Persons, Older Persons Advocacy Network and Dementia Alliance International.

DAI wishes to recognise and acknowledge Theresa’s work on International Women’s Day 2023. Thank you, Theresa, for all that you do, and we wish you well in New York and thank you for representing people with dementia in the Older Persons Rights agenda.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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