I CAN! I WILL! is an information and resource-sharing website — an “idea library” — where people from around the world can share ideas on everything to do with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Visitors to the site can browse through such diverse topics as raising awareness about dementia, dealing with early memory loss, innovative programs and activities, creating dementia-friendly communities, combatting isolation and more.
On the site, ideas are organized into books titled by interest group (for example, people with dementia or professional carers). Visitors can click on a book and the “chapters” of the book are listed, broad categories of ideas bundled under chapter names. Click on a chapter name and the “pages” of ideas are listed. Visitors can also comment on the ideas others have posted.
A unique aspect of the website is its contributors, who are people with dementia, family care partners, professional caregivers, volunteers, medical professionals and many others. The site provides a space where people can benefit from the collective life experiences of kindred spirits living around our world. To date there are ideas posted from the USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, Venezuela and more.
The website is not static, as people add new ideas on a regular basis using the “Submit Ideas” form. Repeat visitors to the site will always find something new. To personalize the ideas, contributors are encouraged to send in a photo and talk a bit about themselves. Ideas are also accepted in video and audio format for those who would prefer not to type. The site will eventually list hundreds of ideas in its library.
The ‘I CAN! I WILL!’ project was spearheaded by Richard Taylor, PhD, a person living with dementia, who presented the idea to a working group comprised of people with dementia, care partners, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) staff and other interested parties at the annual ADI Conference, held in Toronto in March 2011. ADI developed and is hosting the site based on input from Mr. Taylor and the working group.
The name of the website — I CAN! I WILL! — reflects the idea that the first step to taking on anything new in one’s life is to think “I can do this,” but the real sign of commitment to change is the loud and clear cry, “I WILL!” The hope is that among the visitors to the website are people who will read about an idea and decide to implement that idea in their own lives, organizations or communities and in turn, share their experience with others.
I CAN! I WILL: www.alz.co.uk/icaniwill