For three days, people with dementia, caregivers, representatives of Alzheimer's associations, international experts, researchers, and policy makers discussed how to actively address dementia. With 9 Keynotes, 10 symposia, workshops and discussions, this conference was again a great success. According to Stefanie Auer, organizer of the conference, answers can only be found in an active international dialog. The 4th Dementia conference will take place in the fall of 2022.
On 28 October 2021, Christiane Teschl-Hofmeister, Provincial Councilor of Lower Austria, Friedrich Faulhammer, Rector of the University for Continuing Education Krems, and Stefan Nehrer, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medicine, officially opened the conference. Furthermore, Prof Stefanie Auer, Head of the Center for Dementia Studies and event organizer, and Marc Wortman, co-organizer, welcomed the attendees and moderated the program, with the support of dementia activist Helga Rohra, who herself lives with dementia.
On the first day, Prof Wiesje van der Flier, University of Amsterdam, presented her research on interventions and prevention strategies. Thomas Czypionka, Institute for Advanced Studies (Vienna), gave a presentation on the Austrian economic study. According to this study, dementia in Austria costs about 1.39 billion Euros per year and imposes about 1.26 billion Euros in formal care costs. Brigitte Juraszovich from Gesundheit Österreich GmbH presented an update on the Austrian dementia strategy "Living well with dementia"which constitutes an important general action framework and for all Austrian Federal States.
Intensified International cooperation and exchange of information in the Dementia Field
On day two, several parallel sessions discussing prevention strategies and technical advances were presented. Prof Myrra Vernooij-Dassen, former director of the Radboud Alzheimer Centre and chair of Inderdem, spoke about "Social Health" and the necessity for “social prescriptions” in order to avoid isolation and loneliness, important risk factors for dementia. Jochen René Thyrian, German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases, presented the prevention initiative in Germany, and Prof Henry Brodaty, University of New South Wales in Sydney, presented the Australien "Caring for Your Brain" study (MYB Trial). A Syposium presented from the Krems Arts and Education Initiative (KAEDI) of the UWK presented Art as a method for prevention (www.kaedi.at).
The AIDEM II 2021 (Artificial Intelligence for Prevention & Intervention in Dementia) symposium presented in collaboration with Joanneum Research Graz presented put new media for caregivers and Persons with Dementia in the centre. World-renowned experts such as Lorenz Granrath from Tohoku University in Japan and Prof Craig Stark, University of California shared their study results and potential of this approach. A symposium with Persons with Dementia was presented by "PROMENZ live" providing impressive insights into the world of experience of people with dementia and possible solutions for better care provisions in the future.
COVID-19 and dementia as well as the challenges of 24-hour care by caregivers from predominantly Eastern European countries were the focus of the third day. The situation of 24 hour professional caregivers was presented in case studies and the urgent need for immediate action was highlighted.
Taking steps for future developments
"The third Dementia Conference once again provided a forum for exchange and discussion. Worldwide, experts and Persons with Dementia are highly motivated to create a more active and hopeful future for Persons with Dementia. Only if we work together and culturally adapt evidence-based best practice models of primary and secondary prevention, the situation will improve for Persons with Dementia and their support providers" says dementia expert Stefanie Auer.
As in 2020, the 3rd Krems Dementia Conference - due to the COVID-19 pandemic - was transmitted virtually. The advantage of virtual conferences is that many people from different countries can attend and exchange their ideas. In doing so, this conference also contributed to international networking," explained Alzheimer's expert Marc Wortmann.
Please find further information and shortly the abstracts of all presentations here: www.donau-uni.ac.at/dementia-conference