Local research shows that in Malta there are currently about 7,000 people suffering from dementia. By 2050, the number of people suffering from dementia is expected to be at around 13,000. This is mainly due to an ageing population and due to the increased risk of developing a form of dementia when one grows older. In 2015, the Maltese Government launched the National Dementia Strategy which presented several measures that needed to be implemented in order to improve the quality of life of people with dementia, carers and members of the family. The two main strategy recommendations are to increase the number of centres in Malta for people suffering from dementia and to create night shelters that are specifically made to accommodate them.
Active Ageing and Community Care CEO Dr Renzo Degabriele, on behalf of the Parliamentary Secretariat for Active Ageing and Persons with Disability and the Archdiocese of Malta signed an agreement to rent and refurbish the building named ‘Il-Mużew l-Antik’ in Ħal Safi. Through an investment of €300,000 this building will be transformed into a dementia centre. This centre will offer the necessary support and care for people with dementia and their carers as outlined in the National Strategy for dementia in Malta. This centre will be the first centre to offer both day and night service in Malta. The night service will offer rest for those people with dementia who suffer from disturbances in their sleep.
Parliamentary Secretary for Active Ageing and Persons with Disability Silvio Parnis who presided over the signing of this agreement said that such centres offer comfort, support and provide therapeutic activities for people with dementia while at the same time provide assistance to relatives and carers.
Parliamentary Secretary Parnis said that upon completion of this project, people suffering from dementia will be able to attend for a number of day per week and join in fun and therapeutic activities, organised by professionals. These activities will help them remain more active and their families and carers will be able to rest.
Furthermore, particular attention to the interior design of the centre will also be given so that the service users can feel welcomed and safe. The main objective is to have a dementia-friendly environment. This centre will in fact be specifically equipped and designed to help service users navigate in a better and safe environment. Those professionals who will be engaged to work in this centre will also receive intensive training about how to take care of people suffering from dementia, so that this centre will be able to provide professional care for all those who make use of this service and their carers.
Minister for Education and Employment Owen Bonnici, Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Julia Farrugia Portelli, Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi and Safi Mayor Johan Mula were also present for the signing of this agreement.
For more information about this project and other services offered by Active Ageing and Community Care call on 159 or visit www.activeageing.gov.mt.