Learning the Italian way

Italy 5

 

Last week we were on a study visit to Italy and were lucky enough to visit and meet Italian colleagues from four regions who are doing some pretty innovative work in their respective work places. Of particular interest to us was a museum project in Rome (given our visit to MOMA last year and the workshops they delivered last month for staff and students and also museum and heritage workers from across the UK), and two music projects, one a music therapy project in the North of Italy run, and another violin group in Rome (as we have our ongoing BSO/BUDI orchestra project) but what I ended up being surprised and really excited about was the work of a colleague, Dr Andrea Fabbo, a geriatrician who is responsible for dementia services for the Local Health Trust in Modena, an area devastated by an earthquake a few years ago but with the silver lining of many new dementia projects being funded as a result. The images included in this post are great examples to ‘myth bust’ the risk aversion that is often shown to those living with dementia. Those who attend the services in Modena are encouraged to cook, to garden and to swim, normal activities that are too often denied to those living with dementia who may lose some of their abilities to undertake such tasks and rather than assist them to retain their skills with the changes in their cognitive abilities too often these tasks are performed by others in well meaning attempts to provide the support people with dementia need. We were lucky to meet innovative academics and practitioners on our trip, but our Italian colleagues were clear that these type of project are highly unusual in Italy where a traditional clinical approach is taken based on a biomedical understanding of dementia, but as you can see from the images here Andrea and his team have created a fantastic example of psycho-social support for those living with dementia that promote social inclusion and fun for those with dementia