Dementia: Living together

People with and without dementia share a common world. Yet, their daily lives are mostly separate. The challenge, however, is not to ignore the up to 1.5 million people suffering from dementia and their families in Germany, of which 80,000 are living in Rhineland-Palatinate. We have to understand them as a self-evident part of public life and should integrate them into the community.

This is especially necessary in view of the demographic change. Fortunately, we will all grow older in future. Thus, the number of people suffering from dementia will inevitably rise. The number of dementia cases is expected to double until 2050. Therefore, we have to ask ourselves how we can support and manage social participation for people with dementia and their families, and how we can succeed in living together as one society.

The “Forum for Dementia” is a common work group of the regional care conferences of the district of Südliche Weinstraße, and the city of Landau based on the care infrastructure planning of the government of Rhineland-Palatinate. The Forum is based on the Rhineland-Palatinate Dementia Campaign, which was started in March 2004 by the Minister president of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health, Family and Women under the “Menschen pflegen” (“Caring for people”) initiative and other partners. The campaign is implemented by the Landeszentrale für Gesundheitsförderung in Rheinland-Pfalz e.V. (Regional Center for Health Promotion in Rhineland-Palatinate). The Forum was founded in 2008 during the regional care conference of the district of Südliche Weinstraße. In May 2010, the first common meeting with the members from Landau was held. Now, it is also part of the “Landes-Netz- Werk Demenz” (Dementia Network in Rhineland-Palatinate), also initiated by the Ministerpresident of Rhineland-
Palatinate. The forum helps to inform the public and dilute fears regarding dementia. It aims to make consultation and health care structures more transparent and concerned and their relatives. Thus, missing offers can be identified faster and initiated accordingly.

All the members of the “Forum for Dementia” work in areas entrusted with the care of people suffering from dementia. Among them are the Regional Center for Health Promotion in Rhineland-Palatinate as a supporting body, the local representatives of the district of Südliche Weinstraße, and the city of Landau as well as the Rhineland-Palatinate Alzheimer Society. Additionally, nursing homes for the elderly, care support centers, Pfalzklinikum with its hospitals for gerontological psychiatry and neurology and the Pfalzklinikum day-care center for the elderly can be named.

After the foundation of the “Forum for Dementia“ the preparation of a guide easily accessible for both the persons for the region was particularly important. This guide will raise awareness, inform about dementia and provide an overview of the existing out-patient, day-care and in-patient offers.

Dementia guide 2014

Due to great demand, the Dementia Guide of the “Forum for Dementia”, District of Südliche Weinstraße – City of Landau, is currently out of stock and being updated. New offers for ill citizens in the district and the city have been added, especially in the field of hourly-based care and day care. At present, the Federal Government is launching a law on strengthening care. For January 2015 an adjustment of the long-term care benefits including increased payments is planned. Therefore the new edition of the guide will not be available prior to spring 2015.

Zoo project

The Landau zoo project is probably a unique project in Germany. In in-patient facilities animals have become a familiar sight by now. The positive response triggered off by animals is effectively used to heal or at least relieve symptoms. Because of last year‘s favorable feedback the members of the ”Forum for
Dementia”, District of Südliche Weinstraße – City of Landau, and the Landau Zoo School want to organise more exciting afternoons in the Zoo for people with dementia and their relatives.

Symposium at Pfalzklinikum in 2015

For the first time the “Forum for Dementia”, together with the Pfalzklinikum – Service Provider for Mental Health, is planning to organise a symposium. During the all-day event interesting subjects about the care and support of people suffering from dementia primarily in old people’s homes and hospitals will be covered. Apart from many other interesting speakers, Bettina Rudert and Bernd Kiefer will hold a 2-hour lecture on “The therapeutic table visit – the esteeming short-term activation as a method of prevention and escalation”. These 2 lecturers are highly esteemed among experts. With this symposium, professional care-givers living in the district of Südliche Weinstraße and the city of Landau are given the opportunity by the “Forum for Dementia” to undergo professional training not far away from home at Pfalzklinikum. The symposium will take place on March 4, 2015. The detailed program will be announced in due time by public relations.

Paul Bomke
Pfalzklinikum für Psychiatrie und Neurologie, AdöR



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