Report on the “36th Global Conference of ADI” Celebrating 40 years of Alzheimer's and dementia achievements on a global scale

Report on the “36th Global Conference of ADI” Celebrating 40 years of Alzheimer's and dementia achievements on a global scale
Author: Hom Shrestha
Published: Wednesday, May 15th 2024

It was a great opportunity to attend the 36th global conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) in person from April 24–26, 2024, held in Krakow, Poland, as a delegate from Dementia Alliance International (DAI). The theme and slogan of the conference were “Dementia Insights, Innovations, and Inspirations." It offered a distinct chance for significant transformations and aspirations, providing genuine insights, stimulating innovations, and fostering inspiration to enhance our world for people living with dementia. With over 750 attendees in person from more than 100 countries and an additional 340 participants joining online, the event encompassed two plenary sessions, three symposiums, five parallel sessions, and numerous recorded sessions accessible to online participants.

This year, the ADI conference marked a remarkable celebration of its 40th anniversary, highlighting substantial achievements. It was a day of great honour for ADI's global partners and alliances. The presence of royal families from Spain, Sweden, and Jordan added significant meaning to the success of this year's ADI conference.

Over 600 delegates, including experts, advocates, researchers, medical professionals, policymakers, and individuals living with dementia, attended a conference on Alzheimer's Disease (AD) on the first day of ADI (April 24, 2024). Notable guests included Her Majesty Queen Sofía of Spain, Princess Muna Al Hussein of Jordan, as well as Wojciech Konieczny, Zbigniew Tomczak, and Andrzej Pawlak. CEO Paola Barbarino and Vice Chair Meera Pattabiraman represented ADI. The event concluded with a traditional dance performance by ADI member associations from the Asia-Pacific region.

The exhibitions from April 24 to 26, 2024, showcased over 400 posters from more than 100 countries. Among them, I presented poster P2-002, titled "Culturally-safe dementia care: An emerging global policy agenda," at the exhibition hall as a DAI delegate. Throughout April 24–25, 2024, I engaged with delegations from various regions worldwide, participating in Q&A sessions during the poster presentations.

On the second day (April 25, 2024), ADI discussed the importance of raising awareness and challenging stigma around Alzheimer's and dementia. Speaker Kudzai Mpunzwana from Zimbabwe highlighted the challenges of stigma and mistreatment in rural and urban communities. Forecasts indicated that the combined number of dementia cases in the panel's represented countries will exceed 53 million by 2050, underscoring the urgency of addressing dementia stigma and providing support to individuals living with dementia today. Another significant highlight is the Dementia UK conference, which showcased presentations on caregiving and improving quality of life, interactive dance sessions, workshops on post-diagnostic support, and discussions on dementia therapies and interventions. The ADI Royal Ambassadors were in attendance, along with a keynote speech by William Yeates, a person living with dementia. Highlights of the event included a workshop on post-diagnostic support, insights from the founder of the Walk the Talk project, and a captivating dance intervention demonstration by Mirjam Brocknäs.

During an enlightening session on April 26, 2024, the voices of individuals living with dementia resonated, advocating for increased awareness of stigma, and fostering understanding. Norman Williamson from Alzheimer Scotland and Emily Ong shared their personal journeys, while ADI introduced a Lived Experience Panel. ADI hosted a workshop with delegates from various countries to discuss the importance of governmental policy in promoting awareness and inclusivity for people diagnosed with dementia.

As part of the conference's conclusion, ADI CEO Paola Barbarino invited Lorène Gilly from France Alzheimer & Maladies Apparentées to announce that France will host the 37th Global Conference of Alzheimer's Disease International in 2026. It was a positive step, demonstrating Europe's leadership in the global commitment to Alzheimer's disease and dementia care and prevention.

Kudos to the ADI team for the excellent arrangement and management of the ADI conference, which was a great success. The beautification of ADI includes a beautiful sketch and artwork of the delegates, as well as performances of dance and music and award-winning films that have made ADI-2024 such a special and memorable event.

Overall, it was a great learning experience for me as a DAI delegate. This was my first time attending in person. During the conference, I had a courtesy meeting with William Yeats and Emily Ong, two of DAI's distinguished and legendary past board members, champions, and mentors. I had a meeting with Yue-En Chong, and am gratefully impressed by his eloquent legal expertise on the rights of PLWD and their care partners to wellness and relief from emotional distress. Most of the sessions were significant, valuable, and worth supporting, as they allowed me to connect and introduce myself as a DAI board member to the participants, including the CEO of ADI and the new Vice Chair, Meera Pattabiraman. 

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