About the project
The World Health Organisation estimates that by 2050 over 18 million European citizens will be suffering from dementia. Alzheimer's Europe estimates that the cost of dementia in Europe will exceed €250bn by 2030 and that a co-ordinated approach to dementia strategies at a European level has the potential to deliver real benefits. One in in 14 people over the age of 65 up has dementia, and the likelihood of developing dementia increases significantly with age.
According to Alzheimer's Europe, with no cure and no disease-modifying treatment currently available, people with dementia, their families and carers require high-quality care, support and information, to ensure they are able to live as well as possible, for as long as possible in their communities. There is a need across Europe to upskill health and social care professionals about the best way to provide care, however there is a lot that can be done to enable someone with dementia to live well with the condition. Care and support needs to be ‘person-centred’ - focused on that person's identity and their individual needs and preferences.
One of the key non-medicinal interventions is reminiscence. Reminiscence is a well-established practice that has been used widely since the 1960s to improve the lives of people living with dementia. It gives people the opportunity to share their stories and experiences, and helps them remember who they are. This can boost their self-confidence and social interactions and make valuable connections between their past and the present. In most care settings, this takes the form of a ‘Memory Box’ which is used to collect photos, cuttings and artefacts. This project addresses this transnational need by both building on a previous Erasmus+ project, 2017-1-UK01-KA202-036686, ‘Forget Me Not’, which developed and tested an online platform which served as a digital memory box, and 5 training modules for FMN users (professional and non-professional carers and independent users). This continuation project builds on the previous outcomes and research recommendations from an associated project conducted by Plateforme des Aidants in France to enhance the technology of the platform, produce both a more detailed set of training resources and facilitate wider access to training.
To develop a strategy that can be adopted at a European level, it has to be tested in a variety of contexts and partners will test the training and resources in their own contexts. The benefits of so doing will be to demonstrate the flexibility of the outputs and how they can be adopted to address differing needs. The original platform was developed in 5 languages and this new project has added a further 4 languages. Given the backgrounds of carers and the nature of the target groups, it is important that they have access to the resources in their home languages. This transnational approach also enables different cultural dimensions to be addressed, both in terms of the resources development and accounting for cultural differences.
This partnership has fulfilled all the objectives of this project:
- Develop the Forget Me Not platform to make it more widely accessible through improving the accessibility for those with impairments and developing further language versions
- Introduce an interactive sharing facility
- Develop an interactive cognitive assessment tool to establish the degree of independent use that a sufferer can work with the platform
- Develop additional training modules and resources on basic ICT skills needed to use the platform, how to develop specific reminiscence activities in both care home setting and the home and how to establish training champions and run workshops
- Pilot, test, evaluate and refine the new developments and training resources in collaboration with our network of associated partners
- Identify and use tools to evaluate impact in the short, medium and longer term
- Disseminate the outcomes widely and build an online network of expertise
About the Impact
Assessing the impact of a project such as "Forget Me Not" is crucial to understanding its added value and effectiveness. It makes it possible to measure the direct and indirect benefits, both for the participants and for the community in general. This impact summary provides essential insights to guide future initiatives and improve existing strategies.
Internal Impact :
Deepening Project Management and Intercultural Collaboration Skills:
- Participants gained valuable expertise in managing complex projects, navigating the challenges of cultural and linguistic differences.
- The experience has enhanced their ability to manage projects with diverse teams, improving their adaptability and intercultural competence.
These skills are transferable to various professional contexts, increasing their employability and their ability to manage projects with multicultural teams.
Intercultural collaboration has helped to develop a better understanding of the various approaches to neuro-evolutionary diseases, enriching the overall approach of the project.
Impact on the team and the community:
This project has enabled:
- Strengthening the skills of carers: The project focused on the development of non-pharmacological approaches, thereby improving the skills of carers in the care of Alzheimer's disease and related disorders.
- Community Involvement: The initiative has stimulated greater community involvement with people with cognitive impairment, promoting inclusion and understanding.
Tangible Changes and Improvements:
The tangible transformative aspects of this project on the ground are wide-ranging:
- Resources and Supports: The establishment of new resources has strengthened the capacities of professionals and families, offering adapted and accessible tools.
- Training and Workshops: Training has been put in place to further develop the skills of carers, contributing to better care.
- Understanding and managing dementia: The project has contributed to a better understanding of dementia within the community, encouraging more effective approaches to care.
- Improved Quality of Life: The interventions have had a positive impact on the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers.
Evaluation of the FMN platform components:
- Ease of Use and Accessibility: The FMN platform was well received for its user-friendliness and accessibility.
- Multilingual platform: Availability in several languages was a major advantage in reaching a wider audience.
Unintended Impacts and Challenges :
- Increased Social Interaction: A noticeable increase in social interaction among participants was observed.
- Digital Training: The need for digital training for some users was identified, underlining the importance of digital inclusion.
This impact summary highlights the importance of evaluating projects to fully understand their scope and benefits. "Forget Me Not" not only achieved its objectives, but also generated lasting positive impacts, both at individual and community level, demonstrating the effectiveness of its approaches and the need to pursue similar initiatives in the future.
To find our about moe about the impact of using Forget Me Not for reminiscence as a non-medicinal intervention in dementia care, you can read our Action Research Report: