Building A Dementia Friendly World, Kyoto 2017

The Building A Dementia Friendly World symposium was held last week, co-organised by Alzheimer’s Society and the WHO Kobe Centre as part of the ADI2017 conference in Kyoto.  This was one of several pre-conference symposia and a chance to see a broad global representation of Dementia Friendly initiatives.

Over 350 participants from at least 33 countries attended the symposium, and more participated online. It was literally standing room only.

There speakers from Australia (myself), Costa Rica, Indonesia, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK and more, discussing what dementia-friendly means to them, how we can achieve a dementia-friendly world, and their insights regarding how to conceptualise, develop, implement and evaluate initiatives. Descriptions of these dementia-friendly initiatives are now available in a new case study booklet available here.

Global Dementia Friends Ambassadors Yuichiro Miura and Carey Mulligan also gave special messages of support.

We heard from speakers from the World Health Organization (WHO in Geneva and in Kobe), about progress to create a WHO framework to assist countries and communities to implement and assess dementia friendly initiatives. The proceedings from the symposium will help to further inform the development of this dementia-friendly framework and we will share more information soon on how you can get involved in helping to shape and provide input to it.

You can view a recording of the symposium here. (Note this YouTube video runs over three hours but Kiama features at about 43 minutes.)

The symposium provided a major opportunity to collaborate, debate and network with others working to build a dementia-friendly world. It was equally strategic in articulating the needs of people affected by dementia and many dementia-related programmes.  The many constructive questions and comments will contribute to the discussion among the 194 Member States of WHO that will meet during the 70th World Health Assembly later this month in Geneva to discuss, and hopefully adopt the landmark WHO ‘Global Action Plan on the Public Health Response to Dementia’. The aim of the Global Plan is to urge a greater commitment by governments worldwide to develop and improve national dementia plans, care and support for people with dementia. The plan recommends global targets and activity under seven areas for action: dementia awareness, risk reduction, diagnosis, care and treatment, support for care partners and research. The draft plan sets a global target for 50% of countries to have at least one dementia-friendly initiative to foster a dementia-inclusive society by 2025. The global plan is a ground-breaking development and provides recognition of the important work that so many of you are involved in.

The above is largely based on a summation by Jeremy Hughes (Alzheimer’s Society) and Alex Ross (WHO Kobe Centre) distributed to symposium delegates.

Please note the following website resources:


Alzheimer’ Society:

Building A Dementia Friendly World Symposium

Watch the event again:

Case studies booklet:

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI)


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