Zornitsa Karagiozova, member of the European Dementia Carers Working Group, is delighted to share details of a new pilot group for people with dementia in Bulgaria


In December 2023, in Sofia - the capital of Bulgaria, the first pilot group for people in the early stages of dementia was launched. It was formed on the initiative and with the overall support of the civil association, Alzheimer Bulgaria. The group is of a closed type and consists of four participants, admitted to the group after presenting the necessary medical documentation and doing an interview. The group meets every week, with the frequency of the meetings being tailored to the needs and attitudes of the people in it. The therapeutic process is led by certified systemic therapists. The theme of each gathering is related to the life, memories and current daily life of its participants, which creates a warm and friendly atmosphere of sharing between them. Small items related to the traditions and holidays of the Bulgarian people are also made. With the active participation of the members of the group, its name was also chosen - "Friends of Memory".

A logo is also being developed. To help counter the social isolation that can occur for people with dementia, the participants create a trusting relationship and communicate with each other. They are empathetic to the problems of the others, they support each other and approach the particularities of their illness with understanding. Good social contact may help to preserve some of their thinking skills and delay cognitive decline later in their life. Unfortunately, there is no active day care centre for people with dementia in Sofia. Therefore, the existence and functioning of the group for people in the early stages of dementia is a huge step forward in caring for them and understanding their needs to build a safe and friendly environment where they can have mental and emotional engagement, to the best of their ability. Alzheimer Bulgaria is working hard to create and launch a second group of the same type.