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NGO Living with Dementia updates us on some recent positive developments in Estonia

Friday 22 March 2019

Dementia Helpline

The first dementia information phone-line (helpline) in Estonia was opened in January this year. The Helpline is open for 4 hours on working days. People with dementia and their family members, as well specialists (social workers, service providers, etc.) are welcome to call in with any questions related to dementia. The Dementia Helpline is managed by the Dementia Competence Centre.

Dementia support groups for family members

In 2017, the first dementia support groups for family members of people with dementia were started in Estonia, by NGO Living with Dementia. The growth of these new support groups has been very fast and today there are support groups in 17 different places throughout the country. In March this year, the first support groups for the Russian speaking population were launched (in Narva and in Tallinn). Given the huge demand for information and support, there are at least 10 more support groups planned in the next few years. The dementia support group leaders are volunteers and are mainly members of NGO Living with Dementia.

Memory Cafés

In February this year, the first Memory Café was opened in Estonia. While the above-mentioned support groups exist mainly to help the family members of people with dementia, Memory Cafés are established to help people with dementia feel better supported and allow them an opportunity to socialise and to enjoy time together with family and friends, as well as with those in their community interested in helping and understanding dementia better. Memory Cafés also try to offer an interesting cultural element, by taking place, for example, at Tallinn TV Tower or in the KUMU Art Museum. As Memory Cafés are proving to be very popular, there are also plans to spread these throughout Estonia. The Memory Cafés are run by NGO Living with Dementia.

Dementia conference (pictured)

In March this year, more than 150 persons participated in the conference “Journey towards dementia-friendly services”. Presentations gave a good overview of the development of the dementia field in Estonia. They covered topics such as which services, for people with dementia and their carers, are offered by local governments or care homes. There were very inspirational and impassioned speeches by family members of people with dementia, as well as international speakers from Slovenia, Finland and Belgium, who spoke about dementia-friendly movements in their countries and about designing the environment, as well as palliative care. Indeed, the final session was devoted to palliative care. Speakers from Belgium were joined by some from Estonia, who presented the current situation and future plans for palliative care in Estonia.The conference was organised by the Dementia Competence Center.

More information about NGO Living with Dementia: