The 35th Global Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International took place on 9th-11th June 2022.
It was the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic that the bi-annual conference took place in-person, as well as the first time that it was offered in a hybrid format with both in-person and virtual sessions.
Over 1,200 delegates from over 120 countries participated in the conference with an equal number of people joining online and in-person. Delegates consisted of people living with dementia, informal and formal carers; staff and volunteers of Alzheimer and dementia associations, researchers, healthcare professionals and more.
Keeping in line with the theme of the 34th international conference, the conference theme for 2022, ‘New horizons in dementia: Building on hope’, intended to continue building upon the momentum of new knowledge, research and ideas, which ultimately intend to improve the lives of people living with dementia and their families.
The conference saw a wide breadth of representatives from international organisations and institutions, including the World Health Organization (WHO), Karolinska Institutet, Dementia Alliance International (DAI), Peking University, Boston University and many ADI members.
In acknowledgement to the in-person location of London, UK, the conference paid tribute to some of cultural aspects of the United Kingdom through set designs and the virtual platform. Keeping in line with the international aspect of ADI’s work and mission, the conference programme was globally diverse in content, as well as entertainment, with ADI members from Asia Pacific performing a dance during the opening ceremony.
In her opening speech for the conference, ADI CEO Paola Barbarino said:
Now more than ever, love, our sense of justice, dignity and decency propel us forward. We know that defending the most vulnerable in society is right and we will not stop until we succeed.
ADI also heard from its ambassadors, Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, the former President of Costa Rica and Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden. The conference also received a welcome to delegates from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who wrote in a letter: “Finally, I just want to commend Alzheimer’s Disease International for its work over many decades, and all of you for your ongoing commitment and dedication to searching for a cure for dementia and for helping to ensure that people with dementia can live well.”
Later that evening, in-person delegates were treated to a performance from the Alzheimer’s Society’s Croydon Singing for the Brain group. The choir performed the ‘Forget Me Not’ song, which was penned by long-term volunteer Sandra Willans, who woke up one with “the words and music running around head”, having been inspired by the experience of singing community songs with people affected by dementia.
Plenary sessions and exhibition
Like ADI 2020, the 35th global conference programme was built around the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Global action plan on dementia, with diverse international keynote speakers delivering plenary sessions for each of the seven action areas of the plan: increased dementia policy, awareness, risk reduction, diagnosis, treatment, care and support, support for carers, information systems and research. Additional sessions were also added around ‘Coping during a crisis’ which saw an important discussion of lived experience from Ukraine and Indonesia.
Because of the conference’s virtual format, ADI 2022 was able to host more poster presentations than ever before, as well as an abundance of exhibition stands. There was also the opportunity for some ADI Members and sponsors to showcase their work through the Programme and Product showcases.
Following on from the launch of the ADI Accreditation programme in 2020 at the 34th international conference, the conference programme also featured a symposium around accreditation. During the session, Head of Accreditation Amalia Fonk-Utomo answered questions about the first year of the programme, as well as the first ADI Accredited body, Kiang-Wu Nursing College.
During the closing ceremony of the conference, Laura Dabas announced Alzheimer’s Indonesia as the winner of the in-person Member Showcase, with Michael Maritome, Executive Director, accepting the award on the organisation’s behalf
In closing remarks, Chair of the ADI Board Dale Goldhawk said:
I hope you are taking with you some memories, new information and insight… As well as a sense of empowerment in the work that you do to fight back against dementia. You are not alone in the world. Together, we are stronger.