Authors: Valentina Bressan, Henriette Hansen, Kim Koldby, Knud Damgaard Andersen, Allette Snijder, Valentina Tageo, Natalia Allegretti, Federica Porcu, Sara Marsillas, Alvaro García, Alvisa Palese,∗
This document is a short overview of the “Community Collaboration Concept”, which has been developed within the European ERASMUS+ Project called ‘Embracing DEmeNtia’, in short, the EDEN Project. The EDEN project has as main objective to create awareness about the importance of dealing with dementia as a community challenge and not only as an individual challenge, emphasizing the important role of relatives as well as a close and “embracing” collaboration on local level between the target groups of the project being; people living with dementia (PwD), relatives of people living with dementia, health and care professionals, local authorities, civil society actors and volunteers.
The development of the EDEN project is motivated by the increasing number of PwD in the European Union (EU), and the need to have a common approach in Europe towards this important societal challenge, which, if not dealt with in a collaborative way, risk causing difficult life situations for both the PwD and their relatives and high economical pressure in our society.
With the increasing number of EU citizens living with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other types of brain related diseases, the care of these citizens has become a significant and complex challenge within the EU. Due to the nature of the disease and the gradual cognitive decline, dementia is considered a ‘relatives’ disease’ because of the strain that the course of the disease can be for a spouse or other close relatives.
The support provided by relatives of the PwD is of great importance to the persons with dementia, their relatives, health care professionals and the society as a whole. If relatives cannot cope with the task, the need for assisted living facilities and / or a life in a care home, is much higher with the resulting human and economic costs for the family and the health and social care systems. This calls for a greater emphasis on supporting relatives and enable them to cope with the tasks of helping the person with dementia.
This challenge calls for social innovation in order to offer new and better ways of thinking, acting and living together in a way that includes PwD and that will foster a better quality of life for them and their relatives.
The University College Lillebaelt (Denmark), as coordinator, the Southern Denmark European Office (Denmark), the Department of Medical Area of the University of Udine (Italy), the Healthy Ageing Network Northern Netherlands (Holland), the Fundación Instituto Gerontológico Matia (Spain) and the European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance, UK). Each partner has involved in the project groups of family members who follow at home people affected by dementia, health and social professionals dealing with dementia at multiple levels and representatives / volunteers of family associations.
The concept of Community Collaboration (CCC) is based on all the good experiences and practices that already exist with regard to building dementia-friendly communities. However, the CCC goes one step further by proposing the development of close collaboration between all stakeholders, both public and individuals who, at various levels, deal with dementia. The CCC can therefore be seen as a reference model to help stakeholders move from the desire to become a community that embraces dementia to effectively be an inclusive community.