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Demographic trends show very rapid and extensive aging of the world's population, which has no comparison throughout history. According to some estimates, by 2050, one in six people will be over 65 years old, which is a significant increase compared to the situation in 2019, when it was one in eleven people. New challenges arise with these changes, both for individuals and, above all, for society as a whole. In recent years, there has been an obvious increase in dementia. Already today there are more than 50 million people who have it, with almost 10 million new cases per year, so that number is expected to grow to 82 million people by 2030.

Since the increase in the number of people with dementia is a wide social problem, it needs to be addressed as such and treated in a highly interdisciplinary manner. In addition to systemic solutions and institutional support, it is important to empower communities and individuals, as education and awareness of the general population on the topic of dementia is crucial. For this purpose, Institute Circle from Slovenia in cooperation with partner NVU Impuls from Montenegro are implementing the project »Protecting of the right to dignified ageing and dementia preventing«, which is supported by the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia and the Ministry of Public Administration of Montenegro. The project aims for the empowerment of volunteers to offer lay psychosocial support to people with dementia, their families and caregivers, as well as towards building a sustainable mentoring program that would enable further education and guidance of future volunteers as well.

Voluntarism is a powerful tool that has a long history and is based on the idea that the global starts with the local, which is especially important in today's fast changing world. The right to care and support in the home community is extremely important for people with dementia. Caring for people with dementia can be a big challenge for their families and loved ones, which was also shown in the first mapping research of the needs of people with dementia, which we carried out in Montenegro as part of the project. With the program of training and mentoring of volunteers, we want to address the needs of the beneficiaries as effectively and directly as possible, and within this framework, a Manual for volunteers was created, which will enable the durability and longevity of the program even in the future.

The e-manual contains all important information about dementia with an emphasis on practical knowledge, including methods and techniques of working with people with dementia, specific activities and ways of communicating in a respectful, friendly, and sensitive manner. All this enables volunteers to renew and expand their knowledge and competences for direct work and help to people with dementia and their relatives. The e-manual also addresses voluntarism as such and emphasizes the important role that volunteers can play in working with people with dementia and especially with their families and caregivers, who are often overlooked due to the lack of systemic support.

Based on the results of our research, which showed that the concept of dementia in Montenegro is very poorly understood, and at the same time, there are no systemic strategies that would include people with dementia as a subgroup of the elderly and thereby enable appropriate additional support, it is important that we create programs that also give the wider community the opportunity to get educated and offer lay psychosocial help. With this goal in mind, we also designed the relevant materials within the project, which are easily accessible on our websites.

Humans are social beings, together we are always the strongest, that's why in our project efforts we prioritize well-being, connecting and empowering communities for cooperation, finding collective solutions and mutual help. Through promotion and awareness, we want our programs and materials to be as widely accessible as possible for practical benefit and sustainable use in the future.


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