AGADEA. Preventive and therapeutic stimulation service for people with Alzheimer's disease or other neurodegenerative dementias #
The Asociación Galega de Axuda aos Enfermos con Demencia Tipo Alzhéimer (AGADEA) was founded in 1994 in Santiago de Compostela, as the first association of its kind at regional level. AGADEA works to improve the quality of life of people affected (sufferers and carers) by Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
AGADEA promotes a network of centres that favour the permanence of affected people in their usual environment. Thus, the aim is to offer older people comprehensive and plural therapeutic care, promoting their personal autonomy, facilitating transitions in their life project, strengthening social relations in their environment and encouraging their active participation in the community. At the same time, this makes it possible to offer support and respite to families on a day-to-day basis, helping to ensure that the load of care for dependent persons does not rest on a single person in the family nucleus (mainly a woman).
In the municipality of Vedra, the therapeutic stimulation service started in 2018, in response to the detection of this need in a municipality with an ageing population. Vedra has around 5,000 inhabitants, 25% of whom are over 65 years of age.
Problem addressed #
Currently, a large part of the rural territories of Europe and especially in the case of Galicia have to face the great challenge of an increasingly ageing population. Faced with this situation we find two important issues, on the one hand, the situation of dependency of many of these elderly people interferes, in many cases, with the work-life balance of their carers, hindering their access to the labour market, on the other hand, this important population sector should not be separated from the life of our territory, we must seek an effective inclusion, not feeling that they are an isolated or useless sector in the active life of the citizenship. From the institutions, and in this specific case, working together with social inclusion entities such as AGADEA, we seek to achieve real social inclusion of our elderly.
Objectives & implementation #
The aim is to achieve social inclusion of older people. To achieve this, they have two programmes:
- The therapeutic stimulation service aims to provide a solution for elderly people with a diagnosis of dementia who are isolated in their homes for various reasons. It is a resource of proximity to the community that facilitates access to it. The main objective is to get elderly people with some form of cognitive impairment out of their homes and provide them with cognitive stimulation therapy to help them maintain their cognitive and physical abilities for as long as possible. In this way, the disease is slowed down while the elderly person is in an environment of socialisation, accompanied, supervised and active.
- Active ageing workshops. This programme aims to improve the mental, physical, emotional and social state of the elderly and increase their life expectancy and quality of life. The active ageing service also makes it possible to detect incipient cognitive symptoms, allowing us to anticipate the process of evolution of the disease. In this way, an affective preparation and assumption of the disease is made possible, and the appropriate resources and tools for each phase are brought closer. At the same time, this allows sufferers to respond better to treatment and cognitive stimulation, to develop methods of compensation and to delay the rapid escalation of the deterioration of the disease.
Service users and their families, the municipality of Vedra, health health professionals such as doctors, psychologists, etc., and the staff of the association that is responsible for the direct care of the users of the service: geroculturist staff, technical specialists such as occupational therapists, social educators, etc..,
The therapeutic stimulation service started in 2018 and is currently ongoing.
Fields of application #
Healthy older people and older people with mild to moderate cognitive impairment.
Both the prevention service and the therapeutic stimulation service are not only carried out in this municipality, but also in other rural municipalities that requested it. The rural population demands proximity services for dependent people and this service is easy to implement. The socio-cultural centres can serve perfectly well as shelters as long as they meet minimum accessibility requirements. Therefore, the implementation in other towns in the territory is potentially transferable.
Impact & Results #
Since the therapeutic stimulation service of Vedra started in 2018, the number of families that have benefited from this resource has been increasing. In 2021, due to Covid-19, the number of users attended to was reduced, but when the population returned to normality, the service has increased considerably, from 14 users in 2018 to 20 in 2022.
Meanwhile, the prevention service (active ageing) has also experienced an increase in the number of people attending, especially in the last year. It currently counts with 30 people, making Vedra the rural location in which AGADEA is present, with the highest number of people benefiting from the active ageing resource