Alzheimer Portugal’s project, Memo e Kelembra nas Escolas (Memo and Kelembra in schools) arose from a need to sensitise and raise awareness among the population – particularly children, teachers and assistants – about Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias, as well as their implications for our society, in particular families.
The aim of the project aim is to innovate by promoting health-related knowledge via the medium of literature, among the younger population: What are the first signs of the disease? What is dementia? How do I deal with its characteristics? What is happening to my grandfather/grandmother? As a grandchild, how can I help? Alzheimer Portugal hopes that, by enabling children to answer these questions, creative, significant improvements in health and family care could lead to a reduction in the incidence of dementia, as well as increased well-being and quality of life for people living with dementia.
Information sessions start with a presentation from the project’s technicians and with a role-play of the bilingual Portuguese/English book Pequeno Elefante Memo/Memo the Little Elephant. Following this, discussions take place around subjects such as old age, children’s feelings around vis-a-vis the story (taking into account their body language), caring for people with dementia, support for older people, relating the elephants’ family to the children’s own families, what should be done when someone is ill, etc. The sessions end with the elephant dance, to create a relaxed environment.
To date, such sessions have already taken place in 11 of the 18 districts of mainland Portugal, covering 19 schools and 3429 participants, for students with and without disabilities.