• Just tidying up on the themes from our European session in Telford 23 November 2015 | View comments

  • 23rd November 2015 | By David Jolley

    Rose-Marie Droes from Holland began to encourage local people with dementia and their carers to come together and decide what they most needed, from the 1990s. Mostly they liked to have a meeting place and they set about finding resources which would work and that could be afforded. Having found this to be a useful and effective approach in 13 centres in Holland, she has been encouraging other countries to look at the model: http://www.meetingdem.eu/

    Italy, Poland and the UK are involved in the current project: our colleagues in Worcester are leading the UK component. The essence, as I understood it, requires an entrepreneurial approach to identify, mobilise and coordinate local strengths. The details of what will happen vary with locality: there is a postcode patchwork of brightness that fits, rather than an imposed/handed down uniformity from an all-knowing national or international source. Now isn’t that a good idea!

    Toby Williamson reported on a study of how far the Dementia Friendly Communities idea has been adopted – in England and in other European countries – perhaps not as widely as we have thought even here, and the take up elsewhere is sparse. Most initiatives depend upon local enthusiasts and there is little input from formal bodies so far. Toby’s work includes the Mental Health Foundation’s consideration of framing dementia as a disability rather than an illness http://mentalhealth.org.uk/content/assets/PDF/publications/dementia-rights-policy-discussion.pdf

    Seems to me that many disabilities are consequent of the effects of illness. For most of us it is the impairments and disabilities which cause us to notice something is wrong. Finding ways of coping despite them is what counts in the absence of treatment strategies which might counter the disease process itself. 

    This is why all these societal responses are so important in making life better for people with dementia and their families. Progress is being made and good practices shared.

    Today we checked with a small gathering of consultants, trainee psychiatrists and medical students: Who has read The First Year of the Goodmayes Psychiatric service for Old People? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4098447

    Answer – 2/9 This is a shame – Let’s all do it now – even the abstract is worth it



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