Roundtable discussion with decision-makers and experts from various fields in Montenegro, focuses on "Family accommodation as a form of care for the elderly"


Within the framework of the project "Protecting of the right to dignified ageing and dementia preventing", Zavod Krog and NVO Impuls organised roundtable discussion (the third they have held in this context) on 25 April 2023, in the municipality of Plužine in Montenegro. The topic of the roundtable was "Family accommodation as a form of care for the elderly“ and the meeting was attended by representatives of the Municipalities of Plužine, Nikšić and Plav, representatives of centres for social work from Plav, Nikšič, Plužine, Šavnik and Berana, Home for the Elderly Podgorica, Health Centre Plav, Nikšič and Plužine, Red Cross Nikšić and Plužine, Centre for Social and Child Protection and Health Insurance Fund Plužine.

The project, which is implemented in the north of Montenegro, is supported by the European Union, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and the Ministry of Public Administration of Montenegro. At the roundtable, the activities of the project were presented, which are aimed at educating and mentoring the volunteers to offer lay psychosocial support to people with dementia, their caregivers and family members. Another important activity was the mapping research of people with dementia, their families and caregivers in the north of Montenegro, and the needs and challenges they face, which is the first such survey in the country.

This research, carried out as part of the project in 2022, is pioneering work that represents a big step forward in identifying people with dementia, say the organisers, noting, "We hope it can serve as the first basis for the future introduction of strategies and legislation that will benefit people with dementia and their families, enabling them access to much needed support and help for a better and dignified life and aging." As a continuation of the constructive discussion from the second roundtable, where the participants discussed institutional care as a form of protection for the elderly, the representative of the Home for the Elderly Podgorica, Jelena Šofranac (pictured), and the representative of the Institute for Social and Child Protection, Dragana Pešić, presented the programme and manual of family accommodation as a form of care for elderly people and people with dementia. Family accommodation is an organised care programme for adults and elderly people, which is divided into several forms depending on the health status and specific characteristics of the families, and can take place with relatives or other families.

The speakers emphasised that, despite certain challenges that may arise during implementation of such a programme - related, for example, to the capacities of families and the needs of beneficiaries - family accommodation represents an important assistance programme that should be widely available and known to all for whom such services could significantly facilitate care for the elderly and people living with dementia. "As in our project, in which we designed and implemented the training of volunteers for practical work with people with dementia, similar trainings are also needed for families and people who decide to join the program of offering family accommodation. The aging of the population and related challenges are a broad and interdisciplinary social problem, so we must approach potential solutions in the same way, with the greatest possible involvement of civil society and volunteers as well. The family accommodation program allows people with dementia to stay in home care and familiar surroundings for as long as possible, which is a key factor in improving their quality of life", the organisers stated.

The participants at the roundtable spoke about the importance of establishing connections and cooperation of institutions and organisations that deal with the protection of the elderly at the local level, as well as emphasising the need to establish a national strategy that would regulate the field of elderly protection to ensure the long-term achievement of set goals with the involvement of all important stakeholders. The discussion showed many common points between the participants, the desire and need for further cooperation, promotion of the topic among the general public and, above all, better promotion of the existing help and support programs available for the elderly and people with dementia. Zavod Krog and NVU Impuls are very satisfied that, within the framework of their project, through events such as this roundtable, they can connect decision-makers and experts from various fields, with the goal of establishing and improving cooperation for the greatest benefit of the elderly, people with dementia, their families and caregivers.