Greek Association of Alzheimer Disease and Relative Disorders
The Greek Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Thessaloniki (Alz-heimer Hellas) was established in 1995 as a nonprofit organization. Its aim is the creation of structures and services that improve the quality of life of patients with dementia and of their caregivers. Alzheimer Hellas currently numbers more than 5,000 members. Since 2007, Alzheimer Hellas operates two Alzheimer’s Units in Thessaloniki, at which innovative, non-pharmaceutical programs are implemented. Free services are offered, such as complete neuropsychological exams, medical diagnosis, and therapeutic inter-ventions. On average, the Units receive about 8,000 visits per month. Some of the ther-apeutic, non-pharmaceutical programs that are implemented at the Units are particularly innovative and have received awards from Alzheimer’s Disease International. Alzheimer Hellas also operates a team of at home carers that visit patients who are unable to move or who are in the final stages of the disease. Since 2007, 2,200 families have been re-cipients of at home care. Lastly, the organization operates a 24-hour telephone helpline that people can call to receive answers regarding dementia.
The grant regards the creation of a multi-sensory Snoezelen room in one of the two Alz-heimer’s Units of the Association. Snoezelen is a multi-sensory environment with the goal of stimulating the basic senses using colors, music, odors, images and various tactile objects (www.snoezelen.info). It is a type of therapy that was developed in Holland in 1970 in institutions that took care of people with developmental disorders. Over the years, Snoezelen came to be used in various capacities for people with dementia, mental disorders, learning disabilities, cerebrovascular conditions, pain management, depression, stress management, and diffuse developmental disorders. Regarding Alzheimer’s disease, a Snoezelen room is an appropriate solution and method for seniors with the condition. In the present time, there is no such installation/space in Greece, while it is used systematically as a non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive treatment for people with Alzheimer’s in other European countries. The patients who will participate in the therapy will be examined by psychologists and neurologists who specialize in Alzheimer’s Disease in order for their treatment program to be designed. The room will offer interactive approach—the patient will have the possibility of interacting with the environment and of actively controlling it. The beneficiaries are approximately 80 participants for the room over the course of 12 months.