IPA Conference in Lisbon: A Long-Awaited Gathering to Foster Change in Dementia Care

The IPA conference in Lisbon finally took place after a four-year delay, bringing together over 600 participants to discuss the latest developments in dementia care.

Day 1

Before the start of the conference, several pre-conference workshops were organized. Notably, the workshop on Young Onset Dementia and the Lifecycle of Technology in Dementia, co-chaired by Martin Orrell and Lizzy Boots, brought together esteemed speakers such as David Neal, Esther Gerritzen, Lesley Garcia, and Golnaz Atefi and set an engaging tone for the event.

The conference kicked off with an enlightening opening lecture by Amal Abou Rafeh and Claudia Mahler unveiling the Lancet commission on personalized long-term care through a human rights lens. INTERDEM members Hilde Verbeek, Déborah Oliveira, and Harleen Rai are members of this esteemed committee, which will have global impact on the future of long-term care.

Day 2

A highlight was the symposium on Social Health in dementia, delivered by Myrra Vernooij-Dassen and Karin Wolf-Osterman, with Marieke Perry and Henry Brodaty. Also, the COGNISANCE symposium, chaired by Frans Verhey and Henry Brodaty, presented interesting results from Maud Hevink, Jane Wilcock and Isabelle Vedel. It reminded us of the importance of rehabilitation in dementia, which includes informing people of available support, because ‘information is power, power to take control of your life with dementia’.

Day 3

Rose Marie Droës held a keynote, re-emphasizing the value of psychosocial care in dementia. Subsequent symposia explored topics such as innovative care environments (e.g. Green care farms) and advanced sensor technology by many INTERDEM members contributing, among others Hilde Verbeek and Sarah Janus.

Other topics were the impact of COVID-19 on cognition in an aging population, and euthanasia and assisted suicide (beautifully addressed by Lia Fernandes).

Day 4

INTERDEM Chair Marjolein de Vugt presented on the role of social connectedness in dementia, together with Sube Banerjee. In a final symposium we learned about the exciting potential for narrative approaches to improve quality of long-term care for older people.

Other highlights

  • Over 200 poster presentations offered diverse insights into research projects aimed including the INDUCT and DISTINCT Best Practice Guidance for technology in dementia and results from projects e.g. FindMyApps RCT and RELOCATE project.
  • Progress was made on developing the INTERDEM roadmap for future research directions, with Lizzy Boots and David Neal agreeing to help prepare the groundwork.
  • Lisbon itself was delightful, attendees were captivated by the charms of the city itself. With its vibrant nightlife and warm, welcoming locals, the city provided a delightful backdrop for networking and unwinding after thought-provoking sessions.


Overall, the IPA conference in Lisbon served as a long-awaited platform for researchers, experts, and practitioners to share knowledge, foster collaborations, and ignite inspiration. As participants departed, their anticipation shifted to the upcoming Alzheimer Europe conference in Helsinki, carrying with them the memories and insights gained from the enriching experience in Lisbon.

Disclaimer: The authors only described the sessions they attended, therefore it is possible that not all presenters are mentioned by name in this blog. Thanks to all INTERDEM and INTERDEM Academy members for their valuable contributions.

Written by: David Neal, Sarah Janus & Lizzy Boots