Dementia Inclusive Radio
As an Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health during 2020–21 it was challenging to meet other fellows or faculty members in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I longed for a way to make connections in this virtual global community and so the Voyage Around My Brain radio series was born.
Voyage Around My Brain
Voyage Around My Brain is a dementia-inclusive radio series that examines aspects of brain health from different viewpoints. Each program features an ‘expert voice’, typically a member of the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) community, and the voice of somebody living with dementia and/or a caregiver. As a social entrepreneur, I recognized the vital importance of including the voices of dementia-inclusive creative artists who offer hope after a diagnosis.
As a lover of poetry and music, I also thought that it would be interesting to invite my guests to share pieces of music or poetry that are important to them with our audience. The results were astonishing. Many guests recited a poem they had written especially for the program or one written by a family member. Poets Maya Angelou and Seamus Heaney were firm favorites, while the music choices ranged from opera, rock, and jazz to traditional, classical, and pop.
Voyage Around My Brain and my previous series Reminiscence on the Radio received the Gold Award in the Social Benefit Category by CRAOL, the National Community Radio Forum of Ireland. The judges remarked that it was their first time hearing the voices of people living with dementia sharing their stories on the radio.
Brain Health Perspectives
Voyage Around My Brain, which I researched, presented and produced, also proved to be a novel way to learn more about brain health by interviewing other Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health and learning about their work:
- Magda Kaczmarska shared her passion for dementia-inclusive dance.
- Gráinne Hope offered her love of music in dementia-care.
- Tomás León and Luciano Marciano shared their difficulties being understood while speaking their third languages while.
- Adolfo Garcia explained why people revert to their earliest language at the end stages of dementia.
Other topics included:
- Theatre featuring Nicky Taylor.
- Community engagement with Dominic Campbell.
- ‘What is Brain Health’ was explored by Francesca Farina, Sarah Fox, Susanne Röhr and Berenice Werle.
- A special program about how brain health is managed in Africa featured Wambui Karanja, Primrose Nyamayaro, and Funmi Akindejoye.
Hanan Khalil, a physiotherapist from Jordan, spoke about the importance of exercise, especially dance, for people living with Parkinson’s disease, which inspired a follow-on series centered on different neurodegenerative diseases.
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration focused on the hallmarks of different neurodegenerative diseases using a similar format to Voyage Around My Brain, with experts who live with these conditions, their caregivers, dementia-inclusive artists, and experts who work in these areas.
The series included many perspectives from GBHI faculty members and Atlantic Fellows. Virginia Sturm and Carlos Chechetti discussed mental health, while Roman Romero-Ortuno’s music choice, dedicated to Dana Walrath, featured an irregular rhythm which he compared to an irregular heartbeat in a program about vascular dementia. Other programs explored Lewy body disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, young-onset dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy and primary progressive aphasia. Brian Lawlor inspired a conversation about hope, while Iracema Leroi led the final program about sensory cognition with David Loughrey, who lives with hearing impairment.
Other GBHI faculty members also shared their expertise in these series. Ian Robertson spoke about confidence, Bruce Miller provided insights into emotions, while Lea Grinberg and Dominic Trépel examined insomnia and health economics respectively.
Visit the podcasts section of my bio page to listen to previous episodes.
Atlantic, Pacific and Beyond… What’s Next?
The Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health program is one of seven global, interconnected Atlantic Fellows programs. I am currently recording a new series featuring the wider Atlantic Fellows community, to learn more, not just in brain health, but also global social, racial, health and economic equity.
If you want to get involved in this new series Atlantic, Pacific and Beyond please email me on email@example.com