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Aiming to increase the level of digital literacy of elderly people with dementia and their caregivers, as well as their access to technological tools, the Athens Alzheimer Association implemented, with funding from, among others, the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, a yearlong programme entitled “Stay Connected” – an innovative home-based intervention for people suffering from various forms of dementia, memory problems, and mild cognitive disorders, as well as for their caregivers/ family members. Through the Programme, participants were able to cope with the social distancing brought about by the pandemic, develop useful digital skills and enhance their cognitive abilities, while staying in touch with their loved ones and strengthening the bond between them. As part of the intervention, each family received a tablet device with internet access and participated in weekly home-based training sessions on its use and the use of selected applications, through cognitive exercises available on the organisation’s digital platform. At the same time, the beneficiaries received personalised psychological empowerment services in order to lead more active and independent lives, while each family kept the tablet after the end of the Programme, with a view to maximising the beneficiaries’ familiarity with and use of technology.
“My participation in the Programme was very beneficial. I already knew quite a bit about computers, but within the framework of the Programme we did things that caught my interest even more. My husband suffers from advanced dementia, but I can take care of him because I can play music, show him pictures, and let him engage in games.”
Caregiver of a person with dementia
The Programme has been key in combating the stigma, social exclusion and isolation experienced by people with dementia “The Programme was innovative in that it provided the beneficiaries with the opportunity to cope with the home confinement and the mandatory social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while simultaneously enhancing their cognitive abilities by helping them stay in touch with their loved ones through the development of digital skills. Following completion of the Programme, we are now in a position to design even more effective online service programmes for people with dementia, having identified the difficulties they face as remote users. Last but not least, the Programme has been key in combating the stigma, social exclusion and isolation experienced by people with dementia.”
Communications Officer, Athens Alzheimer Association