As many of you may know, I started My Dementia Companion as a passion project to support families and friends through one of the most complex journeys in anyone’s life (you can learn more in my first blog here).
There is however, another mission - I want to prove that innovation in dementia care is possible and it’s fun, and for a lack of a better word “cool” or “sexy”. Because, currently a larger majority believe that the opposite is true. This is further reinforced with difficulties in talent acquisition and retention, which leads to a lack of innovation and progress compared to other health sectors.
This belief, however, is subtle and rarely shows up explicitly. That was until last week.
To combat this belief and achieve my mission, I have immersed myself in the startup environment to learn from the best in innovation, creativity and how to attract top talent. This led me to speaking with a startup mentor/ expert to give my 3-minute pitch on My Dementia Companion. His reaction at the end of the pitch was “with a name like My Dementia Companion, everyone will switch off and no-one will invest in you. And it’s unlikely you’ll ever make enough money from dementia, and it’s too hard… there is just no point!”
So, what does this mean for us and for those with living with or caring for someone with dementia? Does it mean that dementia is not worth investing in and we should only invest our time and efforts in more profitable or attractive industries? Or should we continue to tackle dementia when the rest of the world isn’t ready for it?
All of us at My Dementia Companion are committed to improving quality of life with dementia. We know it is challenging which is why we can’t work alone and we will need help. Whilst this may be an uphill battle, it is one that definitely worth it as dementia impacts 2 million Australis and 200 million global citizens (costing us AUD 15B and USD 1T), and hopefully this short blog acts as a reminder to anyone in any sector to:
Fight stigma and raise the profile of dementia in the business world and the community
Let your ideas roll. If you have a great idea, go pitch for it and talk to other like minded people. All amazing things start off as an idea and simple conversation. If you have no-one to talk to, talk to me!
Be open minded. If someone comes to you with a great idea, don’t dismiss it. Please listen, ask questions and offer constructive feedback. If you can’t help them, please refer them to someone who can. This is as relevant for people working in and outside dementia. Invest in that talent and our future
Embrace change and innovation. Dementia care can’t improve by itself. It requires everyone’s hard work, creativity and taking a bit of a risk
Fight this incurable syndrome/ disease that is causing the second highest number of deaths in Australia each year!
To make progress for ours and our loved ones sake, we have to start making that change now and within. I’m looking forward to more amazing innovation in dementia care and proving that dementia is something worth investing in.
While for now, it’s a no-brainer for a top graduate to want to work for Google, maybe one day in the future, that graduate will be tossing up that option against a dementia startup.
I also hope the same also applies to investors.