Exciting work for Doctor Dementia!

The last month or so has brought some exciting opportunities for me. The past year since I have finished my PhD on technologies and quality of life in dementia care has had a lot of ups and downs. I have had some great internships – 4 of them, in fact! – but no job offers. I really thought my skills and knowledge would be in demand, as a Gerontologist with a PhD in Engineering, specializing in welfare technology and quality of life in dementia, I think everyone who knows me has been surprised at how hard it has been to find paid work. You can read more about that in my post on what it’s like to be an unemployed dementia specialist. You can read more about my internships in my posts on Brocaféen, Skelhuset – forest cottage for people with young-onset dementia, and under Adventures of entrepreneurship in dementia care.

First, I was invited to join in a webinar during a course on bridging the dementia divide from the University of Derby. This was my first ever webinar and it was really fun! You can watch the 27 minute webinar here:

Then, I made a webinar tutorial for Community Resourcing Worldwide out of Sydney, Australia on technologies for dementia care in the home. It was a lot of work putting it together, more than I had anticipated, but I think the end result is pretty darn good. I first met some of the staff of Community Resourcing when they visited Denmark this past June for a tour on aged and disability care in Europe. As of yet, the webinar isn’t up and running but I will be sure to make a post about it when it is!

The day after I finished that webinar, I got a call from a man I know working in eHealth at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe here in Copenhagen. I came to know him during my internship on incorporating eHealth in Age-Friendly Cities there 2 years ago. He had a great response rate on an European survey on eHealth and now needs someone to lead the publication writing and promotion before 2016. He and I got along really well when I was there 2 years ago and I am very thankful that he has kept in touch and kept me in mind for this short-term project. I am set to start there September 14th! This is the first paid job offer I have had since 2009, when it was for my PhD position, so it’s pretty exciting for me! While it is only for a few months, I am really looking forward to saving up quite a bit of that money to put towards my future work as an independent Gerontologist.

I have also had a few more publications in The Lancet in connection with my work as a Global Burden of Disease expert. As academics know, high quality publications are great to have on your record – but this is a bit harder to do once you are unemployed. I have a few articles describing the results of my PhD study that I have been ready to publish (it is common that you save a few of these to publish right away during your PostDoc – but I haven’t been able to secure a postdoc position…. yet) and as time goes on, I get nervous that the results aren’t getting out there! As it turns out, it is nearly impossible to submit an article to a scientific journal or to a scientific conference without any affiliated institution/university.

I have, however, gotten a bit lucky as I submitted one article to the Gerontological Society of America’s upcoming conference (the only conference I haven’t had my submission accepted back when I was first doing my PhD) and it was accepted!! However, and this is kind of a big however, instead of being scheduled for a talking presentation, they have scheduled me as a poster presentation on one of the last days of the conference. So, while the conference would be great for meeting other Gerontologists and presenting my research results, it’s quite expensive to travel from Denmark to Florida and pay registration and hotel costs (normally, these would be covered by the research institution, but I have none) and a bit disheartening to find the research results you worked on for 4 years are scheduled to be on a poster only. Plus, I don’t have access to the large printers to make such a poster. So, I will be writing the GSA to withdraw my submission. Unfortunate, but needs to be done.  It would be a much wiser investment to spend a fraction of that money on submitting my article to a scientific journal.

I also found out that my abstract has been accepted to the NEEDS conference here in Copenhagen this December. It is a conference focused on disasters, disaster management, humanitarian aid and many of the things that disaster preparation and relief cover. I submitted an abstract highlighting how aging and older adults are often overlooked and even abandoned during disasters and in relief aid, and with an aging global population, many of whom live in low and middle income countries, this is a serious problem and the ethical principles of non-discrimination need to be practiced. You can read more about issues around disasters and aging adults in my posts on Aging and emergencies and on Combating ageism in disaster relief.  I am very excited to be branching out into a new area of aging research!

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