In Mtarfa: Centre for persons with dementia – unique in Europe and open night and day
A centre has been inaugurated in Mtarfa for persons afflicted with dementia. This is the first such centre in Europe, as besides day services it will also be offering services during the night hours. Organised by the Ministry for Active Ageing and Community Care, the Centre has been inaugurated during the month dedicated to more awareness about dementia.
A part of the Home for the Elderly in Mtarfa has been transformed into a centre for dementia patients and will offer services both during the day and at night. Much of the work on the project, with an investment of 75,000 euro, has been carried out by the project team from the Department of Active Ageing and Community Care, and the work was completed in six months.
The coordinator for dementia treatment, Alex Gobey, said the centre was planned and designed to approximate as much as possible a home environment, with kitchens and sitting rooms and special furniture. The centre will be able to take 12 persons daily, and every person can attend for up to three days per week, with the option of either day or night attendance.
“Persons with dementia sometimes confuse times, night with day, and encounter more problems at night than in the daytime… and this service can be availed of during the night so that relatives can get some rest.”
Mr Gobey added that a carer will be allocated to every three patients. The centre will offer a number of specific activities, ranging from productive ones for use in daily life, to activities stimulating the mind, and relaxing ones like music and gardening.
Minister Michael Farrugia stated that persons with dementia will not be cooped up in the centre, but will be able to go out into the community, and recalled the agreement that the Department of Active Ageing and Community Care had signed earlier this month with Mtarfa Local Council, which committed itself to welcome persons with dementia into the community.
Teacher and dementia studies researcher Professor Charles Scerri explained to Television Malta that in this way the community is binding itself to allow persons with dementia to continue living within the community. As a result, the stigma will be overcome and locality residents will gain more awareness about dementia.
“The business centre as well, as an example… those working in shops, in the bank in this locality, in the church sector, the Local council… everyone will gain basic information about dementia,”
The second such centre is to be inaugurated in Ħal Safi within a few weeks. Through these two centres, the country will have achieved the recommendations of the National Strategy for Dementia to offer respite centres for persons with dementia in the North and South, and to provide a night care service.