Dementia-friendly spots across our sites in Slovenia
In September, our organization joined the network of dementia-friendly institutions, with all four of our sites (Ljubljana, Mengeš, Prevalje, and Lendava) becoming dementia-friendly spots. We have joined almost 400 other institutions with dementia-friendly spots to raise awareness and inform people with dementia, their family, and all other community members about dementia in order to help dementia patients and strengthen their autonomy and dignity.
Dementia presents one of the biggest issues to health and social care and a financial challenge to modern society. Worldwide, around 50 million people are currently estimated to have dementia and there are 50,000 people in Slovenia living with dementia. The number of people living with dementia worldwide is expected to double over the next 30 years according to experts. On average, three people care for one person with dementia. Any of us may encounter one in our daily lives, therefore it is important to know how to interact with a dementia person.
People with dementia frequently get lost, forget how to do daily tasks, how to cope with dementia-related behavior changes and mood disorders. Therefore, we need to be aware of this when interacting with a person with dementia in order to assist them. In these situations, dementia-friendly spots can be of great assistance to people with dementia, their relatives, and everyone else as they provide us with the required knowledge and information about dementia, e. g. how to recognize the first signs of dementia, how to communicate with people with dementia, and where to direct them for further support when they are lost and don't know where they are.
Dementia-friendly spots contribute to raising awareness
By establishing dementia-friendly spots, we aim to reduce the stigma associated with dementia, which still exists in society. "We recognize the importance of creating a dementia-friendly environment because this is the only way people with dementia can live a quality, independent, and safe life, maintain their social network and access the services they need and are accustomed to. We established dementia-friendly spots across our organization to promote the independence and dignity of people with dementia. All information and assistance available at dementia-friendly spots to people with dementia, their relatives and our associates will help dementia patients to stay active and engaged," said Urška Ramovš, Patient Relations Manager, at the opening of the Dementia-Friendly Spot. Together with Kaja Povirk, Project Manager, they have ensured that we will deliver active participation of people with dementia in the local community and better dementia awareness in the local environment.
How to communicate with a person with dementia?
Dementia is not a normal part of aging. It is caused by a chronic progressive brain disease. Memory, thinking, orientation, recognition, comprehension, arithmetic and learning abilities, speaking, expression, and judgment are affected. If we encounter a person with dementia and would like to help them, we need to approach them in a gentle and calm manner. Make eye contact. Try to steer the conversation away from unpleasant topics; however, never argue with them, oppose them, or force them to make a decision. Don't expect an answer from a person with dementia, instead, remain patient the whole time.