In recent years, a new culture in dementia care has developed, more specifically awareness of the importance of care as medicine. Nowadays, listening to people with dementia and their loved ones is key in the care process. Previously, the difficulty of seeing the person behind the disease was the biggest barrier to methods of communication that would support people with dementia. The main problem in caring for a person with dementia has now become maintaining that person as an individual. This is not easy to achieve. If individuality is to be maintained, it is essential that each person is valued according to their uniqueness.
Highlighting the relationships that people adapt to in order to live with dementia has radically changed services in the last decade. The importance of social interactions between people with dementia, and with their loved ones, and creative engagement with others, should be seen as important aspects of quality care.
In dementia care, we now talk about creativity, dynamism and socialization.
The 3D4ELDERLY project – 3D printing to create innovative ways of learning for caregivers and staff members who care for people with Alzheimer’s and older people with dementia – fully responds to new directions in dementia care.
The use of 3D printing technology helps the person with dementia by offering a multisensory experience thanks to the 3D model created. The direct touch to the model helps a person to create an infinite number of impulses/stimuli in the brain, with a direct impact on the parts responsible for instinct and sensation. This process gives a positive effect on the cognitive area of the brain and the one responsible for reactions.
The games developed provide caregivers and staff members in residential services, as well as families caring for their loved ones, with appropriate tools to communicate and provide quality care for people with dementia. With this project, besides the direct benefits for people with dementia and their formal and informal carers, it was possible to establish cooperation and partnership at European level between professionals from different fields – IT specialists, experts in the field of innovations in training, organisations related to dementia. Lifelong learning and improving the competencies of staff and trainers working in both health, social and technological fields were promoted. A synergistic collaboration for the benefit of older people with dementia was created.
The games developed and presented are aimed at supporting memory, concentration, coordination, planning, socialization, teamwork, speech, and orientation in space.
They are tailored to the individuality of the person with dementia and can be adapted to personal preferences.
During the project, we offered several families to try out the developed models, to share their opinions and to provide guidance for improving the models.
Vesselina, who is caring for a relative, allowed us to photograph her and present the material on our YouTube channel.