David Krivec, Spominčica – Alzheimer Slovenija Slovensko združenje za pomoč pri demenci, Slovenia
Štefanija Lukič Zlobec and Špela Glišović Krivec, Spominčica – Alzheimer Slovenija Slovensko združenje za pomoč pri demenci, Slovenia
Ageism is still stigmatized and from the community perspective many diseases are still simply understood to normally occur with ageing. The belief that dementia is part of normal ageing is causing a lot of harm to the timely diagnosis of dementia but is also linked to poor care management and increased burden on caregivers. It is necessary to educate the community about dementia, the possibilities of prevention from the personal as well as the community perspective.
Dementia can be caused by different diseases as more than hundred conditions are already recognized as contributors. As it is a terminal disease and may last many decades, it is necessary to reduce stigma and enable people to seek help and a diagnosis as soon as possible. This approach supports the building of personalized interventions and may postpone the progression and later stages of the disease.
The daily habits and routine were very affected during the pandemic and the community overall faced an increase in stress and burden on caregivers and a deterioration of the health of patients. Loneliness and social isolation, deterioration of symptoms of dementia and responsive behaviors and the overwhelming workload were all observed. We encouraged people with online meetings, which enabled people from rural and areas with poor physical connections to stay active. We also encouraged people to socialize and be outdoors at the library under the treetops that provided interesting and diverse workshops on a daily basis.
Moreover, we have strengthened the dementia-friendly points network, that include nursing homes, police stations, firefighters, libraries, schools, ministries, municipalities, shops, banks and other. We train the employees about dementia, communication, post diagnostic support and person`s rights. Member organizations can then promote the dementia friendly principles in the community and provide friendly and accessible use of their services. It is necessary to continue to reduce stigma about dementia to ease the prevention where possible and to allow timely diagnosis to those affected. The library under the tree-tops at the green areas in the city and dementia-friendly points are therefore a nice presentation of good practices to reduce stigma and to tackle the patients’` and carers’ loneliness and stress.