Support for people with dementia in Montenegro continues with creation of new EU-funded project "Navigating Life with Dementia


 "Navigating Life with Dementia: A Project for People with Dementia or at Risk of Dementia and their Families," funded by the European Union and the Government of Montenegro, will focus on creating socially inclusive communities by providing relevant social services to families and communities addressing the needs of older persons with dementia or at risk and the needs of their families and caregivers, and by providing psycho-social support to people with dementia and their families in northern Montenegro. Institute Circle from Slovenia, in partnership with the NGO Impuls from Montenegro, and eight Montenegrin municipalities will continue their joint work in the field of dementia in 2024 and 2025.

Montenegro, a country with 621,873 inhabitants, has 16.02% of people aged over 65, with dementia being the leading cause of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. Montenegro follows the broader European trend that the number of people with dementia will nearly double by 2050. The key factor in this change appears to be a significant increase in the number of people aged over 70, especially those over 85. A study was conducted to identify the most urgent issues in this area. Data obtained from the first mapping by the Institute Circle and the NGO Impuls in 2022 on early dementia detection are one of the first attempts in Montenegro to collect and provide relevant information on this issue, as official statistics do not exist. An analysis of the legislative and strategic framework in Montenegro showed that there is no law specifically regulating the protection and support of persons with dementia. This target group is mentioned in documents related to the protection of the elderly and persons with disabilities. The provision of integrated social services and/or specialised support services and programmes for persons with dementia and their families has so far not found its place in either documents or practice.

Led by experience and best practices, initial first research, public awareness-raising, volunteer training, and capacity-building in the local government sector over the past two years of working with people with dementia and their families, they have decided to continue with improved accessibility and effectiveness of social services in eight municipalities, to address the needs of people with dementia and their families/caregivers; raising awareness among older persons and their families/caregivers about dementia; and improving quality of life through the use of counselling services and psycho-social support for older persons with dementia and their families/caregivers. Nikšić, Plav, Gusinje, Berane, Plužine, Šavnik, Andrijevica, and Petnjica are becoming municipalities that care for their locals and will raise the level of services and recognition of the dementia issue to a much higher level in the next period. The associate partners in this project are the municipalities of Nikšić, Berane and Plav, the Center for Social Work Berane, Andrijevica, and Petnjica, as well as the Red Cross Nikšić.