What is a Solidary and Inclusive Community? These are places that are sensitized and informed about the consequences of dementia on affected people and their caregivers, and better prepared to include them in society. These communities aim to reduce the stigma and exclusion often experienced by both people by dementia and their caregivers. The inclusive and dementia-friendly community empowers both people and treat people with dementia and their caregivers with dignity. Take a look at the solidary and inclusive community created in each of the project intervention sites:

SPAIN

The Dementia Friendly Community in Spain has been created from the social network present in the municipality of Burjassot and led by the Department for the Elderly. It brought together social organisations present in the municipality, as well as municipal technical services and families who live with people with dementia on a daily basis, either as caregivers or as family members. During the meeting, information was provided on the main problems faced by people with dementia and their carers, as well as on what to do as an establishment or organisation in the event of being faced with a person suffering from the effects of the disease. Their participation in the meeting gave them access to become part of the Dementia Friendly Community, receiving a “”sticker”” identifying them as a dementia friendly organisation and a communication kit so that they can spread the word on their social networks and reach more people, getting to be part of the stakeholders’ map of the App ReMIND. Their involvement in this meeting was easy thanks to the previous work carried out at municipal level, through training sessions aimed at municipal and regional technical services that provide psychosocial support to people with dementia and their carers, as well as those aimed at the carers themselves.

At MUSOL we consider this a good starting point to generate community, strengthen the support carers receive and offer a space for exchange in which to feel supported by people in similar circumstances and specialised organisations.

ITALY

The reMIND community in Italy has been built starting from the collaboration with associations already present in the area. In particular, Europole created a solid alliance with the Alzheimer Italy association in its Verona office. The association Alzheimer Italy Verona has been active in the area for 25 years and runs 17 laboratories and support centres in the city and province. In addition, this organisation has been working to get the San Zeno neighbourhood in Verona recognised as a dementia friendly community. The cooperation between Europole and the Alzheimer Association Verona enabled both organisations to increase their competences and thus provide people with dementia and their formal and informal caregivers with more opportunities to be heard and included in society. Operators of the association participated in the project’s transnational training courses and subsequently shared the skills learnt with other carers and volunteers. Europole translated the WHO I-Support manual into Italian and shared it with the association’s operators so that they could use it with users and their families. Europole organised a public awareness event with the association on 26 October 2023 entitled “With closed eyes – Caring for people, a new profession”.

Doctors and experts (including Professor Alberto Oliverio, a renowned biologist and neuro-psychologist from Rome’s La Sapienza University) took part in the event, addressing the topic of dementia from various points of view: prevention, onset, treatment, evolution and the emotional burden of caregivers.

At local level, Europole decided to organise information activities together with the association La Cavalara di Volargne (in province of Verona) which brings together voluntary workers who organise activities to promote the area. This association is made up of adults and seniors who are all very interested in the issues of prevention and support for caregivers of people with dementia, since many of them find themselves in the position of caring for a family member with these problems. Europole therefore organised several information and dialogue events with members of the association and villagers, the most important of which was the event with Professor Alberto Oliverio “Alzheimer and the human brain, What prevents and delays it” organised on 25 October 2023.

Europole also decided to bring the topic of prevention and support of people with dementia to young students. From the very start of the project, teachers from the professional school for social and health workers ‘Michele Sanmicheli’ in Verona have been involved. They have brought many contents of the project into their lessons on the topic of dementia, in order to provide young students with specific skills for job placement and, above all, a broader social awareness of the topic. On 7 February 2024, Professor Oliverio will hold a special lecture for 200 students in their final year of school, giving them fundamental information on how to become professionally and humanly competent caregivers.

POLAND

One element of building a support network is a database of dementia-friendly places for people with dementia and their carers, which is part of the reMIND mobile application. The list includes 50 places in the Słupsk region related to culture, education, health care, social services, rehabilitation, sports and leisure time, which have been placed on a map. The second element of building a Dementia Friendly Community is to establish cooperation between educational, cultural and care institutions in Słupsk to implement project activities and to form a consortium to support and improve the quality of life of people living with dementia. So far to cooperation in the frame of the project joined Pomeranian University – Institute of Health Sciences and Institute of Pedagogy, “Bezpieczna Przystań” Day Care Centre of the Municipal Family Assistance Center and Cultural Centre. The third integral part of the project for building DFC in Słupsk were local trainings implemented in the end of 2023. Details about local trainings you can find in the relevant tab on this side.

GREECE

To secure an actual impact for the reMIND project and come in direct contact with the target group, IDEC decided to actively involve ‘Alzheimer Athens’, a non-profit organization that aims to raise awareness on all forms of dementia and improve the quality of life of people with dementia and their families. Alzheimer Athens runs 9 Day Care Centres for people with dementia, 4 Dementia Mobile Units and 1 Home Care Service and it has made a major contribution to the development and implementation of the National Dementia Action Plan.

IDEC decided to form an alliance with them, thus the organization providing IDEC with access to their network.

We have participated in events held by ‘Alzheimer Athens’, where we got the chance to directly inform the target audience, people with dementia, their relatives and health care professionals interested in Alzheimer’s disease for the reMIND project, what it does offer and of course the community that we are building.

As part of the reMIND Community, IDEC has also built relations with health professionals that teach family caregivers (informal and formal ones) about dementia. These health professionals not only consulted us during the project but also some of them participated in the trainings.

PORTUGAL

The concept of “Dementia-Friendly Community” refers to a place where all community actors and citizens understand dementia and its severe impacts in the affected people, both the persons with dementia, their families, and the caregivers, and are willing to respect, include and support them in daily-life situations.

Considering that Portugal is, according to OECD, the 4th country in the world with the highest prevalence of Dementia, the ReMIND model for building a Dementia-Friendly Community (DFC) was chosen to be piloted in one entire municipality, the Municipality of Cuba (a small rural village, inland, in the South Alentejo Region, with ±4800 inhabitants). The DFC concept and the whole Remind model were explored having in consideration the characteristics and sociodemographic aspects of the community, and its current institutional context, relying on the fact that such characteristics would represent many other aged and affected communities in the region and in the country.

The starting point for the development of a DFC in the Municipality of Cuba was the implementation of several active measures aiming, first of all, the engagement of the key stakeholders (meetings, project presentations, involvement and testimonials from affected people), and later the formal constitution of a Local Network. This Local Network, being the core of the DFC, aims to establish a community-based and proximity institutional “ecosystem”, through effective collaboration (articulation of efforts and sharing of skills and knowledge), and the provision of resources (material, human, technical or other), capable of supporting, empowering and offering effective responses, making these accessible and available to people with dementia and, particularly, to their informal caregivers.

Supported by this local network of public and private entities and representatives of civil society, an inclusive and friendly community is then created, competent to embrace a proposal for innovation and social transformation, and qualified to support the inclusion and improvement of the quality of life of people with dementia and their caregivers.