Talking about dementia with primary school pupils

Talking about dementia with primary school pupils

Greece
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

This intervention aims at eliminating the stigma and discrimination towards patients suffering from dementia and their families. Stigma and discrimination adds extra burden to the families that are already experiencing hardship facing the disease and its biological and psychological consequences. According to scientific literature, prejudices and stereotypes are acquired during childhood. Moreover, children may already be experiencing the consequences of dementia being the grand-children of patients. Ignorance may produce fear and inability to understand and communicate with the patient. We believe that awareness among children may eliminate these problems and improve the quality of lives for both the children and the grand-parents.

About Project

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

During the last years, the state is focusing on health education to children. However, talking to primary school pupils about dementia sounded even to the ears of school teachers "irrelevant". Both litterature and experience, though, have proved the importance of this intervention. Several epidemiological studies highlight that more and more families may have a dementia patient since dementia numbers are rising fast all over the world. The necessity of each family member -even for the youngest ones- being aware of what the disease is and how to manage arising issues, is becoming more urgent and is emphasized by psychologists. The proposed activity is an intervention that may reduce dysfunctions within the family.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Psychologists specialised in dementia care are visiting primary schools and engage into interactive informative sessions with the pupils. A story of two children whose grand-mother has dementia, is presented to the pupils. Through this story-telling, the pupils get to know what dementia means for the patients and their families. The pupils seem to engage a lot in the discussion following afterwards, sharing personal experiences with their own grand-parents or other elderly they might engage with, within their neighbourhood or their social and family network.
About You
Organization:
Greek Association of Alzheimer's Disease and Relative Disorders
About You
First Name

Alzheimer Hellas

Last Name

Association

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About Your Organization
Organization Name

Greek Association of Alzheimer's Disease and Relative Disorders

Organization Phone

00302310909000

Organization Address

P. Syndika 13, Thessaloniki, 54643

Organization Country

, CM

Country where this project is creating social impact

, CM

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for less than a year

Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.

At the moment the economic conditions in Greece are very difficult. The economic crisis hits every single family, sector and region. The consequences are shown on all levels. The government economic support on non-governmental social care or other initiatives is decreased or annihilated, family economics are getting worse. Hence, informative campaigns on the general public or towards special target group (such as children) is rare and lies in the inspiration, talent, workforce of our Association. In addition, one should consider that trying to reach the pupils was a difficult task given the bureaucracy involded but also due to the fact that the context of our speeches should be carefully designed and approved.

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Professor Tsolaki was the founder of the Greek Association and the first scientist in Greece to put dementia in the agenda of the state and raise awareness for this issue. She managed to gain funding from the state and the E.U and initiate the first day care centre for dementia patients. After all these years of dealing with patients and families and raising awareness for the general public, Mrs Tsolaki wanted to take this one step further and start to infrom and educate children in order to train the new generation on how to better cope with the disease and the problems that arise, tackling at the same time social stigma at its roots.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

The project was initiated at the end of this school year. Fourty one sessions took place in thirty three schools with the participation of 2000 pupils. The pupils were actively participating sharing their experiences from their grand-parents or other elderly of their social network. They made well-aimed questions and comments. The participation and the relevant feedback has already proved the necessity of the group sessions. Additionally, the pupils were asked to fill in a questionnaire at the end of the session in order to evaluate their experience from it. The questionnaire is at the moment analysed and will be statistically processed. Finally, during these two months that the project was running, the participating psychologists were sharing and discussing their experiences in order to constantly evaluate and improve the content and the project in total.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

1,001- 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

In six months by now, we will start the second round of informative group sessions in schools. We will have finished the assessment of the evaluations and decided upon the content of the sessions.

Task 1

Complete the analysis of the questionnaires and announce the results.

Task 2

Formation of the committee that will undertake and implement the activity for the coming year. Decide upon the content and the organisation of the second round of interactive informative sessions.

Task 3

Contacts with more schools and set the timeframe and schedule of the sessions for the following period.

Identify your 12-month impact milestone

In one year from today, another round of informative group sessions will have come to its end. The expected quantitative results will be the impact to the double number of schools and hence, pupils.

Task 1

Realisation of the interactive informative sessions.

Task 2

Continuous evaluation and discussion among the group of psychologists.

Task 3

Analysis of the evaluation forms by the pupils. Evaluation of the project as a whole and future planning.

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

We have already been asked by teachers, to organize lectures and talks both for the parents' clubs of the primary schools and also for the teachers themselves. This way we can make sure that the entire families are informed about dementia, about prevention measures and the relative consequences and health services. In addition, this initiative may further evolve in cooperation with other associations of the Greek Federation of Alzheimer's Disease, so that all the member-associations realise the same project with the schools of their region. Finally, the plan is to prepare a differentiated project in terms of the content for the junior high and high schools.

Sustainability
What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

One barrier can be the bureaucratic procedures to enter and realise a project in public institutions. Such procedures are usually complicated and time consuming. However, we have gained the necessary permit from the Ministry of Education. Another barrier may be the lack of adequate resources: for example, the psychologists of the care unit are not always available. Up until now, all the different departments are supporting the project providing their knowledge and limited spare time. Volunteers could also be trained and involved.

Tell us about your partnerships

Alzheimer Hellas is the founding member and president of the Greek Federation of Alzheimer's Disease. This is an advantage since through the Federation, Alzheimer Hellas is affiliated with all the relevant associations in Greece and Cyprus and together can realise large scale projects that cover the larger portion of the Greek population. Alzheimer Hellas is also a partner of the Panhellenic Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases which is an association with the same vision but targets them through research and education. With all these associations, Alzheimer Hellas shares ideas, knowledge and support. Moreover, Alzheimer Hellas having University Professors as members and a well respected scientific director who has close relations to different Universities and especially the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Finally, Alzheimer Hellas is in constant consultations and cooperation with the local, regional and national government and Alzheimer Disease International.

Explain your selections

The permit to enter public schools has been initially granted from the local authorities and, in continuance, from the Ministry of Education. The member associations have already been informed about this initiative, have shown interest and shared their ideas.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?
Challenges
Which barriers to health and well-being does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.

PRIMARY

Lack of access to targeted health information and education

SECONDARY

Health behavior change

TERTIARY

Limited access to preventative tools or resources

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

Primary school pupils are everyday building their personalities through education and everyday interaction with their environment. The formal educational system covers the necessary general knowledge subjects and skills. Other associations like Alzheimer-Hellas may raise awareness on more specific subjects. Talking to primary school pupils, the Association provides information coming from the most recent scientific research in an age-suitable educative style to children. Through information and discussion the children learn what they may come accross, how to manage relevant issues or how to take preventive measures.

How are you growing the impact of your organization or initiative?
Please select up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.

PRIMARY

Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services

SECONDARY

Repurposed your model for other sectors/development needs

TERTIARY

Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

Our organisation has been providing health services to patients and their families. It is also undertaking activities to raise awareness about the disease. Howeverm until now the focus was on the "third age". It is a step forward to refer to younger ages that are affected through their environment or for prevention reasons. Additionally, the Association has promoted this idea to other associations of Greece who will develop similar projects in their regions.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Government, NGOs/Nonprofits.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

The approval of the Ministry to present a project with the public schools was necessary from the beginning and obtained. The role of the partner NGO's was mentioned before. The partner associations will assist in expanding the impact of this idea to all over Greece.

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