ADI 2020 took place on 10-12 December 2020. Originally scheduled to take place in Singapore, in March 2020, the international conference was moved to a virtual format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first time that ADI has hosted its international conference online.
The 34th Virtual International conference was attended by nearly 1,600 delegates from over 100 countries and included people living with dementia, caregivers, researchers, clinicians, as well as other staff and volunteers of various Alzheimer and dementia associations. Centring on the theme of ‘Hope in the Age of Dementia’, the conference aimed to present hope through new science, new knowledge and new solutions around dementia.
Because of its virtual format, ADI 2020 boasted a wealth of delegates and representatives from numerous organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and more.
To pay homage to ADI 2020’s original scheduled location of Singapore, the conference platform and some of its content paid tribute to Singaporean culture, organised in association with Alzheimer’s Disease Association of Singapore (ADA), including a video of the ‘Sing Out Loud’ project in the opening ceremony.
The President of Singapore, Mdm Halimah Yacob, opened up ADI 2020, saying:
Dementia is not a battle to be fought alone. It heartens me to know that all of you – researchers, scientists, clinicians, allied healthcare professionals, care professional and volunteers – work together with people living with dementia, their family members and their caregivers. This inclusiveness is proof that the global dementia community has made great strides forward. And when the world pulls along towards a common goal, there are no limits to what we can achieve together.
ADI also heard from its ambassadors, Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, the former President of Costa Rica; Their Majesties Queen Sofia of Spain and Queen Silvia of Sweden. The conference also received blessings from His Holiness Pope Francis, who wished for a “successful and inspiring virtual event”, as well as an Apostolic Blessing for all of those attending and are working for the wellbeing and support of those affected by dementia.
Though online, the conference made sure to include activity breaks during and after some of the longer sessions, so as to keep delegates moving. This included brain gym exercises and a Poco-poco dance from Alzheimer’s Indonesia (ALZI), chair yoga with Alzheimer & Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) and Zumba with Alzheimer’s and Dementia Association of the Cayman Islands (ADACI).