Char­i­ties unite to boost de­men­tia care

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

Car­ers from Ukraine, Moldova, Rus­sia and Be­larus take time out from their train­ing ses­sions at Jewish Care

JEWISH CARE and World Jewish Re­lief have launched a joint project im­prove the stan­dard of care for de­men­tia suf­fer­ers in com­mu­ni­ties in the for­mer Soviet Union.

Un­der the scheme, the first group of so­cial care pro­fes­sion­als from Ukraine, Rus­sia, Moldova, and Be­larus have vis­ited Lon­don to re­ceive train­ing from Jewish Care staff and med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als.

Nadezhda Terekhova, a wel­fare pro­gramme co-or­di­na­tor for the Amer­i­canJewish Joint Dis­tri­bu­tion Com­mit­tee in Rus­sia, was one of 14 in­di­vid­u­als who at­tended the ses­sions.

She said: “Our gov­ern­ment does not pay at­ten­tion to de­men­tia. It doesn’t recog­nise it as an ill­ness in its own right. It is just seen as part of get­ting older and not as any­thing un­usual.

“The money from gov­ern­ment doesn’t come to us, it is more like pro­pa­ganda.”

She said it was pos­si­ble to tackle the is­sue in Yeka­ter­in­burg, a city in the east of Rus­sia, only thanks to the sup­port pro­vided by WJR and Jewish Care.

“Many of the clients who come to our cen­tre have de­men­tia. Be­ing in the UK and vis­it­ing Jewish Care has al­lowed me to see the level that we should aim for.”

Sofia Abramova, chief spe­cial­ist in so­cial work at Hesed Rakhamim in Minsk, Be­larus, said she would help ed­u­cate peo­ple in her com­mu­nity thanks to the train­ing.

“Peo­ple in so­ci­ety know very lit­tle about it,” she said, “but now I know there are small things you can do to help peo­ple.

“I have learnt it is about talk­ing to the in­di­vid­ual per­son and find­ing out how you can sup­port them, be­cause every­one is dif­fer­ent.”

Gill Yen­tis, Jewish Care’s de­men­tia de­vel­op­ment prac­ti­tioner, said: “When I first got in­volved I thought this was a huge chal­lenge — even in the UK it has been dif­fi­cult to change the cul­ture of care.

“The key to care is work­ing out what peo­ple can do for the in­di­vid­ual — every­one is dif­fer­ent and will need help with dif­fer­ent things.”

Ms Yen­tis added: “This pro­gramme has helped me as a prac­ti­tioner as well. I have learned a lot from the par­tic­i­pants and see­ing the amaz­ing re­silience of staff de­spite a lack of re­sources shows a huge po­ten­tial that we some­times lack even in the UK.”

WJR in part­ner­ship with Jewish Care has been pro­vid­ing on-the-ground train­ing for 500 car­ers in Jewish com­mu­ni­ties in three eastern Europe coun­tries for the past two years.

World­wide fig­ures show that be­tween the ages of 65 and 70, one in 50 peo­ple are af­fected by de­men­tia; be­tween the ages of 70 and 80, one in 20 are af­fected, and af­ter the age of 80, one in five peo­ple are liv­ing with the con­di­tion.

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