The end of the year has suddenly arrived! Whew! Time to reflect on what has happened within the SACF during the past year.
Exciting has been the growth in our membership. I encourage every organisation in the care sector to become a member, connect with others in the sector, to learn and share together. Each one of you have much to contribute – it is always better together! The SACF is a member of the Global Ageing Network, and also CommonAge the global association for aged care organisations in Commonwealth Countries. It is also a member of the IFA International Federation on Ageing). Thus, as a member you have the opportunity to connect and collaborate with others across the globe – you can always be referred to a contact person in an area you are particularly interested in. Members have the opportunity to become involved in partnerships with other organisations across the globe. Members also have access to our Members’ Portal on the SACF website where all the presentations are loaded from our Conversation Hubs and Workshops – a wealth of information. Our members with particular interests and specialities are encouraged to represent the SACF at various other networks, working groups and workshops.
The SACF wishes to thank Kelvin Glen, who has resigned, for his service to the SACF through his participation on the Board of Directors, and his enthusiastic support for the Forum. We are delighted to welcome Jo-Anne Stevens-O’Connor and Ivan Oosthuizen to our Board of Directors and look forward to your respective contributions. Go to https://sa-careforum.co.za/about-sacf/founding-board-of-directors/ to read their profiles.
Alice Ashwell from Dementia Connections SA represents the SACF on the STRiDE working group. Thank you Alice.
STRiDE – towards a National Dementia Plan
Imagine South Africa developing a National Dementia Plan! This is a goal of the STRiDE project – ‘Strengthening responses to dementia in developing countries’ – coordinated by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Disease International. Involving seven developing countries, STRiDE aims to build research capacity to help these countries respond, in ethical and sustainable ways, to the needs of growing numbers of people living with dementia and their care partners.
To determine a work plan for the four-year project, University of Cape Town academics Margie Schneider and Crick Lund facilitated an initial Theory of Change workshop in Johannesburg, attended by more than 20 people from government departments and the NGO and private sectors. Nobody knows what the extent of dementia is in South Africa. The statistics just don’t exist. Furthermore, government has no dementia-specific policies or plans. So, it’s good to know that the South African research team will be investigating the prevalence, impact and costs of dementia on people with the condition and their families. This evidence is essential if government is to start recognising dementia as a priority.
Other focal areas of the STRiDE project include reducing stigma; understanding the costs of providing unpaid care; developing research capacity; and making research tools and evidence available to the participating countries. The STRiDE workshop was a valuable opportunity for people who care about dementia to share their concerns and map a way forward. The group agreed that the ultimate impact of the project would be that:
The ability of people with dementia to live a meaningful and dignified life is maximised; and that family and carers have the necessary support and resources for wellbeing and to be protected from undue financial hardship.
We are encouraged that this research programme will make a valuable contribution to the development of a National Dementia Plan, and policies to improve dementia care in South Africa.
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