With the aim of responding directly to the needs of people who care for dementia sufferers, diagnosing the incidence of the problem, and training, informing and raising the awareness of professionals and the general public, the Cuidar Melhor [Better Caring] project was created in 2012.
The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Montepio Foundation, the Portuguese Alzheimer’s Association, and the Health Sciences Institute of the Catholic University of Portugal, in collaboration with the municipalities of Oeiras, Cascais, and Sintra, helped to create municipal offices made up of multidisciplinary technical teams to respond to the needs of families, professionals, and institutions that care for people with dementia.
The project has been able to continue thanks to the support provided by the funding foundations. Nevertheless, a process of transition is underway to the municipalities involved.
In 2015, 523 appointments and 538 clinical services were held in the 3 offices concerned. The 25 awareness-raising actions attracted 1318 participants and 230 professionals took part in the training activities. The workshops held in the municipalities of Oeiras, Cascais and Sintra attracted 230 family and professional carers.
The possibility of opening a Better Caring Office in Porto is currently being examined.
Created as part of the Better Caring project, the Memory Café was set up to allow carers and patients, who can tend to become isolated, to socialise and also to provide guidance and direction to family-member carers. It aims to create an environment that is informal enough to allow experiences, difficulties and constraints on providing care to be shared. In 2015, four new Memory Cafés were set up in Oeiras, Viseu, Braga and Guimarães, joining those already established in Lisbon, Cascais, Viana do Castelo and Porto. In total, the Memory Cafés welcomed 463 participants. It is estimated that 20 Memory Cafés will be operating in 2017.