I recently attended a symposium presented by the Canadian Research Network for Care in the Community. The topic was “Living Well With Dementia: Toward Dementia-Friendly Policy”. Two European presenters including Henk Nies, from Amsterdam and Eckart Schnabel from Berlin discussed their care standards for Persons Living With Dementia (PLWD).
Dr. Schnabel highlighted the German care program that provides a care allowance determined by the individual’s level of need.
Prof. Dr. Nies reviewed from the 17 million residents of the Netherlands, 260,000 have dementia with12,000 being under age 65. On average people live 8 years with dementia. He noted that there was approximately 14 months between first symptoms and diagnosis by GP. He recognized 300,000 informal carers spend on average 20 hours per week for 5 years. He highlighted the Hogeweijk care community highlighting a neighbourhood that excels at integration. All city staff including police and fire, sales people and school teachers all have training geared towards supporting the PLWD. Of particular interest was their approach in supporting intergenerational communities that encourages students to live amongst the seniors in their care homes. They don’t pay rent and in return they provide 30 hours per month of time with the residents. The gift of time, one of the most precious and priceless commodities that we have to share especially with a senior who feels that life is behind them. A very informative morning with several innovative ideas for us to think about.