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Helga Rohra writes about a German initiative to combat loneliness at Christmas

Friday 25 December 2015

Christmas is a time of year for family gatherings, social outings and general merriment for many people, but for some, the festive season is a season of loneliness. Alzheimer Europe Board member and Chairperson of the European Working Group of People With Dementia (EWGPWD), Helga Rohra writes about an initiative she was involved in, during December 2015, to help combat loneliness:

Special events in our lives, like Christmas, bring back memories and are a way of reminding ourselves what was life like without dementia.

Christmas time starts long before Christmas Eve. The way of preparing, decorating the house, of thinking about gifts, and of people who will join to celebrate the feast. People who are lonely, without family and without friends, or have just emigrated to Germany are in a special situation. They shouldn´t be left alone. No matter what religion, what country, what age, whether with or without a disability. Only solidarity and humanity counts. Together with my friends, we organised in Murrhardt, Germany a Christmas event for all lonely hearts. A big thank you to all who contributed to its organisation and success: from the bakery store to the petrol station and pharmacy. Actually, many people were involved and it showed the power of solidarity and the message: "With or without dementia - no one is left alone.”

I am very positive that such actions of being included in humanitarian projects gives us people with dementia a chance to show our still existing abilities, to participate with our minds and our hearts. Welfare organisations all over Europe should use such events to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with dementia. There is a power in working hand in hand, and we feel we are not the victims of our disease, but victors.

On the picture you can see my friend Martina, myself and the dog Cleo being happy about the event.

Helga Rohra

Chairperson, EWGPWD