Alzheimer’s: Who can help you in Namur?
According to the non-profit association Alzheimer League, more than 200.000 suffer from dementia in Belgium. One family out of five is affected. Loved ones and caregivers face exhaustion and feelings of aloneness and abandonment. In this context, the league has invited the city of Namur to sign a city Friends of Dementia charter. Among other things, the charter would implement a Proximity-Dementia (Proxidem) agent to assist residents.
The Alzheimer’s League defines the Proxidem agent as a “professional community worker likely to meet patients with dementia or their loved ones. He or she is a professional who, by request and free of charge, listens to people’s expectations and informs them of assistance services in the community. He or she may be consulted by patients, families and loved ones who want to be better informed so that they can manage and live with the illness as well as possible.”
The city and the Public Social Action Centre chose to work on this issue together. Two Proxidem agents were designated by these institutions’ councils.
- Take a census of all the services and organizations in Namur that can meet the needs of a patient, loved one or professional affected by dementia.
- Offer counselling, information and orientation around local services to anyone who requests assistance
- Collaborate with the Alzheimer’s League as part of the city’s Friends of Dementia charter
- Organize or participate in theme activities
- Work with the network to build partnerships
- Create a communication plan to ensure visibility for the role of the Proxidem agent for all residents
- Determining operating parameters between the city and the Public Social Action Centre to implement two Proxidem agents.
- Follow-up by two agents about training offered by the Alzheimer’s League with a view to endorsing the quality of the Proxidem agent.
- Having the communal authority sign the city’s Friends of Dementia charter.
- Developing a presentation folder and poster to inform residents and the network of professionals.
- Working on a communication plan.
- Creating a common statistics grid for evaluation.
- Participation in training sessions about issues specific to persons with dementia and their living at home.
- Writing a data sheet to be part of Namur’s Guide to Staying at Home.
- Meetings with the network and the Alzheimer’s League.
- Helping to organize a League conference.
Namur’s Proxidem agents have been available to residents since January 2017. Currently, about a dozen people have contacted agents and several meetings with partners have taken place. Activation of the communications plan is underway, and a special Alzheimer’s evening was hold in June 2017 to promote the work of the Proxidem agents. The project will be evaluated in December 2017.