Old age, care dependency and dementia pose particular challenges to those affected and their families. This paper presents participatory approaches to face these challenges, both theoretical and practical, focussing on the concept of the caring community. One form of a caring community is the dementia-friendly community where people with dementia and their families find the acceptance and support they need. These communities are characterised, among others, by efforts to enable social inclusion and overcome stigmatisation as well as an open approach to dementia in general.
Several conditions need to be fulfilled for the successful social participation of a disadvantaged group (e.g., people with dementia) in a caring community. Among others, communities need to develop a fun-damental social (e.g., dementia-inclusive) attitude which then translates into corresponding actions and behaviours. In addition, community members’ understanding for and acceptance of people’s needs and lived realities need to be improved. This paper discusses the experiences from a project in a small town in Austria which implemented awareness-raising, support and relief activities to improve the town’s dementia-friendliness as well as dementia-inclusiveness. Highlighted are challenges with sustaining newly established meeting spaces and with activating people to engage in community efforts in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, the paper also touches upon the results of the participatory evaluation regarding the effectiveness of the project’s activities.
Christine Pichler, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Austria
Gabriele Hagendorfer-Jauk, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Austria
Manuela Perchtaler, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Austria
Tamara Ulbrich, Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, Austria
About the Presenter(s)
Dr Christine Pichler is a University Professor/Principal Lecturer at Carinthia University of Applied Sciences in Austria
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