+ 359 898 444 027 office@alzheimer-bg.org

2021 – 2022

2022

EMPROVE– EMpowering PROfessional relatiVEs in Europe

In November 2022, a new project kicked off – EMPROVE– EMpowering PROfessional relatiVEs in Europe. The aim of the project is to provide support for professionals working as Geriatric Care Managers or “professional relatives” – their task is to advocate for the rights and needs of elderly people and to coordinate the necessary resources for them.

The project has a duration of 2 years and organisations from Romania, Greece, Italy and Bulgaria will be working together on it.

Several products will be developed within the project. The first will be a methodology and a training course for professionals working in the field of geriatric care. The training will provide useful techniques and approaches concerning different aspects of care for the elderly – physical and mental health, finances, work with the family, available resources and services. This will give professionals an opportunity to improve the quality of their competences.

The next step would be to compose a manual which would provide general information about the profession as well as specific activities and tools for working with and providing support for elderly people and their families. The contents of the training course and the manual will be presented in a pilot workshop in each of the participating countries.

In the following stage of the project an e-Learning platform will be developed, where the training course and manual will be available for free. This will make the distribution of the materials from the project easier and will make them more accessible for the people who need them. The platform will also encourage the exchange of ideas and good practices between professionals.

The EMPROVE project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and aims to improve the quality of care for elderly people by providing professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills for working in this field.

SAA – Smart Against Ageism

At the beginning of 2022, Alzheimer Bulgaria started working on the project ¨SAA – Smart Against Ageism”, funded by the Erasmus+ programme, which is implemented in partnership with organizations from Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Lithuania, Bulgaria and the Netherlands. It will run until June 2024.

Negative attitudes towards older people shorten their lives by an average of 7.5 years. Negative stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination of a person because of their age is known as ‘ageism’, a phenomenon that has been shown to cause stress that leads to cardiovascular disease, lower performance levels and reduced productivity. Prejudice, rejection, neglect or even exclusion of older people is still evident in policies and practices across the EU.

“SAA – Smart Against Ageism” focuses on combating ageism! SAA is a playful tool that will increase our knowledge of ageism and contribute to the development of empathy, tolerance and social skills. An interactive platform with a high quality game, a compendium, a training manual and recommendations for inclusive policy making will be developed for informal free training. SAA will contribute to rebuilding the image of older people as full citizens with the potential to benefit their communities and remove barriers to their social participation.

AIDA – Alzheimer Patients Interaction through Digital and Arts

At the beginning of 2022, Alzheimer Bulgaria started working on the Erasmus+ funded project AIDA, which is implemented in partnership with organizations from Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Ireland and Denmark.

The two-year project aims to create synergies between three areas – care, arts and culture and technology – to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers. The partners have different expertise that will contribute to creating innovative approaches to dementia.

The AIDA methodology has been created, which offers a method of working that brings together the three domains, as well as training scenarios to implement the innovative approach. Two trainings were also held, in Foligno, Italy, and in Sofia, Bulgaria, with the aim of sharing experiences in creating the scenarios and training trainers to transfer the knowledge gained to professionals in the three areas.

In 2023, the project partners implemented the piloting phase of the project, during which people with dementia had the opportunity to visit a cultural place (museum, gallery, etc.), together with their caregivers, and implement the training scenarios using the AIDA methodology. For Bulgaria, the associated partner is the National Polytechnic Museum, where the meetings were held.

Work is also underway to create the AIDA Hubs digital platform, where the developed training scenarios and the results of the pilot phase will be uploaded. Participants in the pilot phase will have the opportunity to create a “personal gallery” on the platform where they can save memories of their experiences during the project.

“Student Internships – Phase 2, Ministry of Education and Science”

In 2022, Alzheimer Bulgaria Association took part in the MES project “Student Practices – Phase 2”, funded by OP NOIR. The project gave three students the opportunity to join the association as interns and to get more familiar with the work and the cause of the organization. The trainees were selected from different specialties – political science, psychology, international relations – to learn about dementia from different angles and to work in different areas: improving social policies for people with dementia, implementing services related to the care and improvement of the emotional and mental state of people affected by dementia, as well as working at international level to exchange best practices and cooperation in the field of care for people with dementia and their relatives and caregivers and improving living conditions.

2021

DementiaCare

In November 2021, Alzheimer Bulgaria started working on the DemetiaCare project. It is funded by the Erasmus+ programme and is implemented in partnership with Turkey, Italy, Slovenia, UK, Spain and Portugal. The duration is 2 years. Its aim is to focus on the use of non-pharmacological strategies, in particular art therapy, which is recognized as an appropriate technique to reduce depressive and behavioral symptoms in the clinical picture, as well as to improve the overall quality of life of patients with dementia.

DementiaCare offers an innovative model as it involves leading experts in the field of neurodegenerative diseases in the creation of a highly specific curriculum based on the use of art therapy in the early stages of the disease. The project combines innovation with meeting an existing and neglected health need.

The project promotes the exchange of good practice, new methods of programme development, delivery and evaluation and new approaches to multidisciplinary training capable of promoting high levels of teaching and skills development across different institutions and training centres.

Dementia Dog Friends

Alzheimer Bulgaria implemented the project ” Dementia Dog Friends”, funded by the European Solidarity Corps “Solidarity Projects” programme. The project started at the end of the summer of 2021 and lasted for one year, with funding of 6 740 euros.

The objectives of the programme relate to engaging young people in societal issues and enhancing their project management skills.

The project aims to raise awareness of the issues and communication needs of people with dementia. It also focuses on the need to improve society’s attitude towards homeless animals. Thus, the results of the Dementia Dog Friends project are aimed at offering a new social service involving stray animals from a shelter to improve the emotional state of people with dementia.

Project activities include meetings between people with dementia from a care home and dogs from the “Every dog matters EU” shelter. Volunteers and psychologists attended the meetings to report on the benefits of such communication and to compile a report.

Digital Grandchild

The project “Digital Grandchild” was funded by the Social Innovations Programme of Sofia Municipality in 2021. The amount that the association received for the implementation of the project is BGN 4 910.

“Digital Grandchild” is a project which aims to create a manual for an online therapeutic service that will enable in pandemic conditions elderly people with dementia to receive attention and care. To this end a handbook was created to help people over 65 to use digital contact tools (Skype, Viber, Zoom and Watsapp). This will facilitate connection between people with early dementia and their loved ones and help overcome social isolation.

The Digital Grandchild project guide includes detailed information on the steps users need to follow to connect on any of the four platforms with their loved ones. It has been adapted through pre-testing to be suitable for use by older people with early dementia.

The guide was developed by students studying in social work-related fields, raising awareness among future professionals and highlighting the need to improve social services for people with dementia and their loved ones. The project also helps to create contact between generations and develop a Friendly Society for older people affected by dementia.

The project activities took place over a period of eight months, during which the Handbook was developed, tested and edited. The final version has been uploaded to the Association’s website, available to anyone with an interest in it.

Translated with DeepL