Zutphen – The Netherlands has an aging population, and an increasing number of people are developing Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. “One in five people has it, while women have it in one in three,” says Yvonne Hendricks from Perspectief Zutphen. Furthermore, the current policy is that people with dementia no longer have to live behind closed doors. In collaboration with professionals and local residents, Yvonne is committed to making the neighborhood “dementia-friendly”, so that local residents can recognize the signs and know how to deal with them.
Sixty locals have already undergone basic training (free) and new training courses will start soon. She talks about a dementia-friendly neighborhood with three local residents and volunteers, Margot, Rene and Marion. “We started the information market in January 2020 and since then we have been running it – together with Alzheimer Nederland, Dementia Network Zutphen-Lochem, Vorden and surrounding areas, the Noordveen district team, the Zutphen municipal district manager, Sensire (De Lunette) and Zorggroep Sint-Maarten (Polbeek) – “They were rolled out more. We’re really doing it with professionals and locals. Residents were invited to sign up for basic training. One neighborhood entrepreneur even had all his employees go through the training and made national news as a ‘dementia-friendly snack bar.'” Maybe this will encourage Also other entrepreneurs in the neighbourhood,” hopes Marion, a local resident.
The half-day training teaches participants to recognize situations they may encounter in the immediate environment. “In the neighborhood we receive more and more signals about people with dementia. We think it is important that everyone in Noordveen can live together in a pleasant way. It then helps to learn about dementia. And if you have dementia, the training also helps you convince others that there is Something is wrong. “Another reason people take training is because they are afraid of developing dementia themselves. “They can gain knowledge through training,” Margot adds. As co-founder of the Department of Zutphen, Lochem and Surroundings for Alzheimer’s Nederland, she is a local co-evaluator.
Focus on what is going well
One important thing that caught the participants’ attention is that you should not focus on what people with dementia can no longer do, but rather on what they can still do. “Then the progression of the disease will progress more slowly as well,” says Yvonne. “If someone starts throwing up their coffee out of helplessness, the solution is not to offer a plastic cup, but to start a conversation, make connections.”
“You’re always learning something new,” is Rennie’s experience. One of the things I learned from the course is to ask someone with dementia questions. Don’t take on tasks right away, ask if you can help. “For example, after eating, don’t just remove the plate, ask if you can remove the plate. Otherwise, he will ask for food next.”
The next essential training on Coping Well with Dementia will be Monday evening, October 9, at De Lunet. If there is a lot of interest, additional training will be planned in Bulbeck. Anyone who has already followed the basic training is welcome to the dementia-friendly Noordveen follow-up meeting on Wednesday evening, 1 November, in the DWK building. There will also be an information market about dementia and support options at that location on Thursday 21 September, during World Alzheimer’s Day, between 1:30pm and 5:00pm. It is not necessary to register for this. Anyone can register for training courses via [email protected].
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