Dementia, Dementia Choir | – Preoccupied with being able to recognize a person with dementia

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Ås municipality received an award on Monday for its efforts towards a more dementia-friendly society in 2022, writes the National Association for Public Health in a press release.

Minister of Health Ingvild Kjerkol presented the award.

Secretary General of the National Association for Public Health, Mina Gerhardsen, tells Nettavisen that Ås municipality has made a good effort and has involved the residents in a great way.

– They have thought broadly in terms of follow-up and worked with various professions such as the fire service, funeral director, booksellers and hairdressers. At the same time as they work to involve and engage the citizens. The sum of everything simply, says the general secretary of the National Association.

The National Association for Public Health is an interest organization for people with dementia and their relatives. By becoming a member, the municipalities get access to tools and guidance to run training for both public and private businesses. It is also free for the municipalities to be a member.

Access to tools and guidance

Challenges for a person with dementia can be forgetting the PIN code for the card or forgetting the way home, says the general secretary.

– If the person with dementia struggles to remember the pin code or address and is then met by people who are angry or stressed, it can mean that the person with dementia does not dare to take the bus home or go to the shop again. We are concerned that people should be able to recognize dementia, and how to meet the person. The simple answer is kindness and patience, she continues.

Mayor of Ås municipality, Ola Nordal, says that both business, associations and individuals in the municipality work to ensure that they are a dementia-friendly society.

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In the municipality, they hold meetings where the participants learn how to meet a person affected by dementia. Nordal says that they have noticed that the residents think it is pleasant to take part in courses.

Nordal itself does not understand why not all municipalities in Norway make use of the offer.

– The offer is free and a good guidance offer. The National Association for Public Health has good expertise and assists when we have questions and comes up with ideas on how we can work well, he explains.

Dementia choir started

At the end of 2022, NRK came out with the series “Dementia Choir”, which received a lot of attention throughout Norway. Gerhardsen makes no secret of the fact that interest has increased considerably following the series.

Altogether, there are 154 municipalities that have an agreement with the organisation, and several municipalities have now made contact with a desire to initiate work to become more dementia-friendly.

– We get a lot of inquiries after “The Dementia Choir” was broadcast on NRK. Both on the dementia line, but also municipalities that want to start choirs and choirs that want to become dementia-friendly.

Ås municipality has also started a dementia choir at Moertunet Nursing Home. Liv Wold and Kristin Volley, who were in the NRK series, are members of the choir in their home municipality.

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The couple is also part of the municipality’s project group, where they work for a more dementia-friendly society.

Volley says that what the municipality contributes is a good motivation to keep going, but points out that this is not a job you will finish.

– There is still a lot that needs to be done, and work must be done continuously in order to remain a dementia-friendly municipality. We feel that Ås has improved in meeting people with dementia by being more open and helpful. Liv is met with greater understanding, and greater patience when she needs help, says Volley.

Hope all municipalities sign up

According to Gerhardsen, almost half of Norway’s municipalities have not yet become members of the organisation. The goal is therefore for all Norwegian municipalities to become dementia-friendly, which she believes is needed.

– Already 101,000 people are affected by dementia today, and the number will double in the future. Therefore, we must create good local environments, where people with dementia can live as long as possible, she says.

She believes that knowledge and learning about how to meet and handle a person with dementia is very important, and important knowledge that has value for many.

– Getting extra help at the grocery store or being greeted in a nice way at the hairdresser’s, that knowledge makes a difference, claims Gerhardsen.

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: Dementia Dementia Choir Preoccupied recognize person dementia

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