Spominčica - Alzheimer Slovenia is continuously engaging people with mild cognitive impairment, people with dementia and their carers in a number of activities. Due to COVID-19 challenges, they are also expanding their range of activities and are hosting workshops for older people in the general population. By doing this, they hope to support prevention, to help people socialise and remain mentally active, and to provide some physical activity.
When they temporarily cannot meet in person, the Spominčica team continues to engage people through online workshops. Unfortunately, some do not join due to their lack of interest in technology, their inability to use it or simply because they do not have access to the required technology. On the other hand, however, Spominčica has managed to engage some people who would normally not attend due to travelling or access difficulties and who would not be part of face-to-face workshops. Overall, the team has found it is better to meet in person; but there is some benefit to engage people online.
The project, "Strengthening and empowerment of older people, people with dementia and their relatives in the COVID-19 period with modern approaches" is funded by the European Union from the European Social Fund and the Republic of Slovenia.
Spominčica uses Creative Art Therapies (AD-ARTS project) like art, dance, drama or music to encourage people to be creative and physically active through dance, and to complement other therapies focused on minimising cognitive and behavioural challenges. Thus, they are increasing people's competencies and having a positive impact on emotional health by using recreational activities. They report having fun and laughing a lot at these workshops.
Spominčica also uses innovative teaching approaches to help people learn foreign language step by step in a natural and enjoyable way (E.L.So.M.C.I and SuperLingo project). They use songs to reduce stress and through the lyrics convey positive emotions, but at the same time enhance cognitive abilities. Further, by using enjoyable activities as role-playing scenarios and various memory-based games they try to ensure that learning a foreign language is made easier for older adults.
All these activities were designed by experts in collaboration with members of the target group from different European partner countries. Furthermore, for improving the well-being of people with dementia, they aim to improve quality of life for people with dementia and their care partners and put a lot of focus on the carer group too. They engage them in trainings about dementia and tips for caring for people with dementia (Ne Pozabi me - Forget Me not project).
The association also organises narrative based workshops with carers (SINCALA project) allowing them to develop a support programme based on experiences from their colleagues in Greece, Alzheimer Hellas. The goal is to support different family members of a person with dementia – spouses, adult children and grandchildren that are providing care and support and to help reduce frustration, express inner thoughts and feelings, empower carers to deal with potential instances of violence/burnout; all in a safe, non-judgmental space. Working with carers, Spominčica aims to help them to build resilient skills, thus making families resilient in how they cope with the challenges that caring brings.