(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to begin by congratulating the organizers, SBA, the Sociedade Beneficente Alemâ on the initiative of creating today’s
symposium on dementia here in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a country of course very dear to me. This symposium I believe is a very important step in the furthering of the discourse around how to improve care for those who live with dementia and their loved ones here in Brazil and I look forward to a very productive day.
22 years ago, in 1996, I founded Stiftelsen Silviahemmet, a foundation dedicated to the development and improvement of dementia care and dementia care education. The purpose at the time was to inspire a public debate on dementia as well as to educate nursing staff in the particular skills that make dementia care so challenging yet so rewarding.
As some of you may know, my mother suffered from dementia during the last years of her life and by living that experience and becoming a caregiver to a loved one, I had firsthand insight into the state of dementia care, in my case in Sweden.
At this time, in the late nineteen nineties, there was little to no training
available to care staff working with dementia patients. The nurses and nursing assistants who did the most admirable job caring for - amongst others - my mother, were self-taught through their own experiences or from older colleagues.
I decided at that time to dedicate myself to the creation and spreading of knowledge in this field – and so the Silviahemmet Foundation was conceived.
In the beginning we focused on training those who were closest to the patients, the nursing assistants. Through this initial program we had the opportunity to, under the wise leadership of Professor Barbro Beck-Friis, create a comprehensive care philosophy for the care of individuals living with dementia at all stages of disease progression. This is a person-centered care philosophy, where the interests of the individual and their loved ones is always first priority.
A few years down the road, we decided to add nurses to the target group for the training and developed a Master’s course in dementia care in collaboration with the Sophiahemmet University College in Stockholm.
In doing so, we raised the bar for dementia knowledge. It was now a fully academically validated degree for nurses and a diploma degree for nursing assistants. This also ensured we could significantly increase the number of students in the programs each year.
In 2012 we launched the first and only Master’s course for physicians in dementia care, this time in collaboration with the Karolinska Institute - the home of the Nobel Prize - and it was fantastic to witness, in 2015, the graduation of the first class of Silvia Doctors.
Almost yearly since then we have had the opportunity to implement and inaugurate a new academic course in this field. Today, I am immensely proud to say we offer training and specialized education to every part of the care chain that comes in to contact with people living with dementia. Silviahemmet today offers courses that target a span beginning with family members, through nursing assistants, nurses, physicians as well as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and care case managers alike.
We hope that by doing this, we have had the chance to increase the quality of life of many people living with dementia and their loved ones, by ensuring a higher level of knowledge within the entire care process.
Beyond our training and education, the Silviahemmet facility, located just next door to the Drottningholm Palace is a day care center that welcomes patients, whom we refer to as guests, every day of the week. It is also a center of excellence where we showcase solutions and new methods and we receive a large amount of visitors from all over the world.
Throughout the years, the work of the incredible people at Silviahemmet has been acknowledged internationally. Already in 2006, we set up a collaboration in Japan to train Japanese care professionals in the Silviahemmet care philosophy – and to date we have trained almost 80 000 people in Japan.
Japan is of course not the only place where we have had the opportunity to provide our training and education. Since then, through Swedish Care International, we have implemented the training in ten different countries across the globe.
And it is with great joy that I today have the opportunity to announce that Brazil will be the next country in line for the implementation of our care philosophy. SBA has made an agreement to begin the process of certifying its dementia ward here in Sao Paulo. Beginning during the first half of 2019, 80 people will receive training in the Silviahemmet care philosophy. This signifies that SBA will not only be the first to do so in Brazil, but in the Americas as a whole. For this I wish to congratulate and commend you and I very much look forward to learning about the outcomes.
Education and training are as you’ve heard the cornerstones in the work of Silviahemmet and Swedish Care International, however, over the years we have also developed several other projects and solutions for patients, family members and caregivers alike. An example of such solutions are three smartphone apps that we have created to aid those living with dementia and their loved ones.
Dementia Support and Elderly Care are two apps that offer advice, support and information to the user, both of them available free of charge and in Portuguese for both iPhone and Android phones. Memory Box, our third app is a communication tool meant to trigger memories in the person living with dementia through a
combination of images, questions and music specifically developed to reinforce memories from the persons younger years.
These tools, as well as our online platform dementiaforum.org
is currently used by tens of thousands of people in over 130 different
countries and combined they are available in 13 different languages. I welcome you to try these for yourselves, and I hope they will be of use to you in your work or private life. With the founding of the Swedish Dementia Centre – a collaboration project between Silviahemmet and The Stockholm County Aging Centre - in 2008 we also had the opportunity to develop eLearning aimed at care staff. This made basic training and understanding of dementia all the more accessible to anyone who felt in need of more knowledge. To date, this course
has been taken by over 125 000 individuals in Sweden alone.
Finally, in the history of Silviahemmet, amongst many achievements, one of the bigger ones was the collaboration with IKEA and Skanska to create and construct the first SilviaBo concept homes in Sweden.
This project came to fruition as a consequence of a conversation over tea with the late Mr. Ingvar Kamprad who founded IKEA and until his passing was its leader. SilviaBo is a living concept that enables couples to continue living together even as one of them has received a dementia diagnosis. The apartments developed by the Swedish company BoKlok are highly adapted to the needs of people living
with dementia, but just as comfortable as any other home – they are simply a bit cleverer in their design and functionality.
This project, I believe, has the potential to entirely shift the way we think about dementia care. I welcome you all to visit us in Stockholm and experience this project first hand.
This was a brief history of the Silviahemmet foundation, and although we have come a long way, I hope to be able to say in a few years that we have made even more progress in this field and that we will have many opportunities to feel positive about the future, even in the light of the terrible group of diseases known as dementia.
Finally, I would like to thank the organizers SBA, with Mr. Weber Porto at its helm as well as Mr. Julio Kampff and Mr. Thomas Polisaitis for their hard work in putting together this day and last but not least for being willing to bring the knowledge of Silviahemmet to Brazil.
I look forward to a very interesting day and hope that we will all leave this room a little more knowledgeable and inspired to make a difference for those living with dementia.
Thank you, obrigada.