Rianna Patterson is a personal development coach, TEDx speaker founder of a youth-led dementia charity called Dominica Dementia Foundation which she launched when she was 18, in memory of her grandfather.
She is also the film director of: Dementia: The Island Journey film, a documentary on dementia in the Caribbean
This is an important time for Dementia advocacy. As COVID-19 has become a global health priority, other health diseases such as cancer and dementia have been highlighted in the media. This is a cause for concern. As information needs to be disseminated to families and caretakers, the work has only increased since COVID-19.
Inclusion of older people in all aspects of governance is a key action to ensure that policies are developed and acted on for the greater good of vulnerable communities. Funding for dementia organisations is also imperative to ensure community groups have accessible funding to continue their projects for care homes and older people. Most were isolated during this time, which resulted in lack of human interaction.
There needs to be more support for creative engagement programmes that connect older people with the world around them, to improve their mood and quality of life.
Another area where people with dementia need to be amplified is through the media. We are consuming more social media content like never before. It is important that older people are celebrated and are shown in their truest form. An older man on a wheelchair is not the only indication of an older person, we are living in an aging population but a very lively one. We have a lot of people who are living well with dementia. Stories of hope are important to tell because it provides real hope for families who have someone with dementia.
It continues the conversation of seeking therapy and working towards a dementia diagnosis and hopefully a cure one day.