Saturday 14 August 2021
Dementia: where the affected and their relatives can get help
Dementia is a huge burden for those affected, but also for relatives and caregivers. There is a wide range of support options in Hesse.
Nidderau / Kassel / Frankfurt (dpa / lhe) – According to estimates from the German Alzheimer’s Society, more than 110,000 people over the age of 65 in Hessen suffer from dementia. In this age group it is around nine percent. The trend is increasing against the backdrop of a rapidly aging society. “The number of people affected goes up from year to year,” says Yasemin Grasmuk of the Alzheimer’s Society Maine Kinzig.
According to the Hessian Ministry of Social Affairs, an estimated three quarters of the sick are cared for by relatives. All the more important are the relief proposals for the affected people as well as their relatives and caregivers. So the Alzheimer’s Society has tested a concept for home day care created in Scotland with the “SOWieDAheim” model project and is now firmly established.
“A volunteer opens their home as a host to a small group of elderly people with or without dementia and takes care of them for a few hours,” explains Grasmak. Around 90 volunteers are currently taking care of around 145 people. According to Grasmak, they are trained and closely supported and receive a flat-rate training fee for their work.
A home environment and a structured daily life are important for those affected. In addition, care is much more intensive in small, familiar groups, Grasmak says. “The aim is to provide relief to caregivers and thus ensure home care for as long as possible.” Because the longer the affected people can be cared for at home, the better it will be for them and the health system. So the Alzheimer’s Society also offers hourly individual care at home, out-of-home care groups, and day care specializing in dementia.
The idea of networking is at the heart of the Coordination and Service Center now recently established in Castle for the Dementia Network. “The main objective of the position is to coordinate professional actors in the field of activity,” says manager Anna Mühling. The social worker, who previously worked at the Castle Center for People with Dementia and Their Relatives (ZEDA), wants to bring the subject of dementia to the public eye and raise society’s awareness of the subject.
There are currently 3,600 people living with dementia living in the North Hessian city. “We want to promote the professional exchange of actors from the fields of elderly care, social affairs, health and volunteering, as well as their networking,” explains Muehling. Further training proposals are to be expanded and potential supply gaps in the proposal structure to be identified and closed. “For this, we will address institutions, affected people and their families in a targeted manner.”
The “Care Guides” model project run by the Beramie Association in Frankfurt is aimed at people with a migration background and is mainly involved in professional integration. People with their own migration experience are qualified to be Intercultural Care Guides. “The background is that there are many expatriates who need care who are not familiar with the German care system and support offers,” says project manager Shabana Maliki. Language is often a barrier, but also experiences discrimination. “Those who are affected tend to back down,” Maliki’s report said.
Volunteer guides should enable them to access the system again as contact persons and moderators. According to Maliki, a total of 56 pilots of different nationalities have been trained so far in Frankfurt, Russellsheim, Offenbach, Marburg and Kassel. The model project will be funded by the Hessian Ministry of Social Affairs and the Care Fund until the end of the year. The project manager says that we are currently looking for ways to continue this further.
The state-wide Dementia Atlas and Care Fund of the Hessian Ministry of Social Affairs aims to create transparency about care structures for dementia and their relatives. Existing counseling centres, offers of assistance in daily living, voluntary assistance and programs on the topic of dementia are published in an online database. An important proposition, as the topic of dementia is still often taboo.
“The need is huge, but people don’t ask much, especially in rural areas,” says Yasmin Grasmuk of the Alzheimer’s Society Maine Kinzig, describing her experience. For affected families, dementia is often difficult to accept and with it comes fear and shame. “Therefore it is important to raise public awareness of the disease and to educate deeply about it.”
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