February 2010: the origins of the European Foundations’ Initiative on Dementia
The joint initiative originated from the exchange of project ideas between several partners (Robert Bosch Stiftung, King Baudouin Foundation, Fondation Médéric Alzheimer and later the Atlantic Philanthropies). Foundations thought the call launched by Robert Bosch Stiftung in Germany to support community approaches for ‘Living well with Dementia in the Community’ was an interesting concept that needed to be expanded throughout Europe, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.
Indeed this local approach has proved effective and efficient, helping to reduce the burden of dementia on the professional health care sector. By supporting people at local level to take responsibility for the way people with dementia are integrated into and supported by society, the foundations wished to contribute to a change of paradigm around dementia in Europe. Their belief was that people with dementia should not be marginalised and stigmatised and still can contribute to society with their remaining abilities. The foundations engaging in EFID were convinced that the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers can be improved in the communities, as dementia research is still far from curing the condition.
The newly launched EFID initiative benefited from the momentum of the Belgian Presidency of the European Union (July – December 2010) where dementia was placed high on the agenda. Later in 2012, the EU Year of Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity highlighted the urgency of discussing the demographic challenges in Europe.
EFID 1st Phase
The foundations engaged in the first phase of EFID aimed to fight the stigmatisation around dementia and work towards changing the societal perception of the condition, through an awareness-raising campaign and the support of local projects developed by community based organisations.
In sum, EFID’s first phase was built around two main pillars:
Pillar 1. Awards scheme “Living well with Dementia in the Community”
Ten projects led by community-based organisations from eight European countries were presented with awards in Brussels on 16 January 2012, at a ceremony in the presence of HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium. The awards, each worth up to 10,000 EUR, were designed to recognise and encourage the dissemination of good practices that help people with dementia and their families to live well and participate actively in their local community.
Pillar 2. Research on “Communicating Dementia – Frames and Counter frames’’
The second pillar focused on the communication around dementia. EFID produced a leaflet “I’m still the same person” to provide recommendations on how to communicate on dementia. The leaflet drew on the research on the frames and counter frames that had been carried over in Belgium with the supervision of the King Baudouin Foundation.