1) Workshops in Denmark. Latvia, Italy and Germany


Preparation for the workshops

The first task in the project was to prepare for two workshops days in each participating countrywith representatives from education (teachers/trainers) and care organizations (caregivers). The partners prepared for the workshops in two ways: Desk research and interviews

Research into current practices related to elderly with a different ethnic background and suffering from dementia.
Each partner made 6-10 interviews with caregivers, managers at care homes and elderlypeople and/or their relatives to collect concrete examples of challenges in the field of elderly with a different ethnic background suffering from dementia, the solutions they have tried, and issues they had identified.

All partners have achieved this in spite of a long range of difficulties due to Covid 19. Across the participating nations, interviews have been made with relevant professionals of all kinds such as cultural mediators, managers, nurses, care staffs and a linguist. In addition, relatives have been interviewed. The feedback from the interviews gave the partners insight into the challenges in the field of immigrants suffering from dementia and the difficulties in cooperating with their families.

The persons for the interviews were selected with the intention to get a broad insight in the project’s topic. The interviews, together with the desk research, formed the basis for the workshop days.

The workshops

The aim of the workshops, held in all the participating countries, was to identify good practices andto identify blind spots and missing links in the cooperation between working life (care homes) and education (educational institutions educating and training care givers). This lead to the identification of elements and procedures that needed to be reinforced as well as identification of elements and procedures that needed to be improved and where action must be taken. This refers to both the care institutions, the educational institutions and the cooperation between them.

Some of the participating partners succeed implementing the workshops before the outbreak of Covid 19 in Europe. This was the case for Denmark and Latvia. However, in Italy and Germany, part of the workshop activities were implemented as online events.  

The result from the workshops differed from country to country since the conditions are very different: Italy, Germany and Denmark have many immigrants from non-western countries, whereas Latvia has a large minority group of Russians, who do not speak Latvian. Another big challenge in Latvia, is a general lack of knowledge of dementia not only among people in general but also among professionals.

The outcome of the workshops – some examples

All partners agree that it is necessary to know the person’s life history in order to provide personalized care and that lack of language among some persons suffering from dementia is a challenge. Lack of ability to communicate with a person with dementia can be either because the person never learned the language in the new country or because the ability to speak was lost as a consequence of dementia.

More partners consider that prejudices are a challenge. It seems to be present in all groups: among residents, among staff and relatives and among staff themselves.

More partners found that the relatives know too little of dementia or perceive the illness differently. Furthermore, the relatives lack understanding of how the different healthcare systems work and what help and support they can expect. Finally yet important, in many relatives’ culture, it is custom to take care of the old persons at home within the family and not in an institution. It is consideredshameful to hand over your dear ones to public care.

The relatives need information in their own language and this is absent in most countries

Regarding the staff, the most prominent challenge is that some migrant care workers are unskilled and that some of them do not master the national language adequately. In contrast, it is an advantage to have educated employees who knows the culture and the language of the person with dementia

2) Development of a training material based on the results of the workshops in Denmark. Latvia, Italy and Germany

The results from the workshops that were held in all partner countries will be the basis of the second project activity, which is to develop training material in order to improve the education and training – and the competences of the caregivers.

The partners are working on finding the topics relevant for the teaching. The German partner AWO has made a template with the first topics and the other partners have added their suggestions. So far the suggested topics for the training material are:

Considerations on learning needs  
Types of dementia and the impact on behaviour
Handling challenging behavior
Biographical work and the work with relatives
Basic knowledge: Beliefs and culture.    
Workshop for the development of reference material on other cultures
Tasks for organising the institution
Our own language
Linguistic and communicative skills       
Cooperation with the relatives.
How to develop intercultural competences
Cooperation among colleges
Non-pharmacological interventions

The two Danish partners and the German partner AWO met on the 24 th of September 2020 (partly) to develop suggestions for the teaching material. We would all have met if it was possible, but again we have to respect the restrictions due to Covid 19