This year Alzheimer Bulgaria Association successfully joined the global initiative Dementia Friends. There are more than 15 million dementia friends worldwide committed to creating dementia-friendly communities. In Bulgaria, more than 120 new dementia friends were created through public information sessions and 20 people were trained on how to provide one-to-one support in nursing homes as befrienders. The volunteers are currently visiting elderly patients in two nursing homes in the country in Sofia and Pleven.
The work of the association related to the project ‘Dementia Friends’ was recognised by the biggest platform for volunteering in Bulgaria – TIME HEROES. The association was chosen, alongside two other non-profit organisations, to participate in a special workshop for effective communication in social media in order to increase its communication effectiveness online. The workshop took place within the framework of the BEESE project, which aims to increase opportunities for young people through volunteer workshops. The format enabled four students to gain valuable professional experience and increase their social engagement by introducing them to the cause of ‘ Dementia Friends Bulgaria’. They generated useful strategies that the association can use to further improve its impact online. More information about the project can be found here: beeseprobono.eu.
One of the volunteers of the association – Ivana Kancheva, was also recognised by TIME HEROES for her active role during the ‘Dementia Friends Bulgaria’ information sessions. Ivana is one of the volunteers who organise and train students and citizens on how to become dementia befrienders. For her commitment to the dementia cause, she was recognised with a ‘Dedication award’ during the Annual Volunteering Awards 2019 of TIME HEROES.
We are proud to have started the ‘Dementia Friends Bulgaria’ project with such success and driven to create more new friends and a more dementia-friendly society!