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Alzheimer Café Veenendaal: Support and Resources for Dementia Caregivers

December 9, 2023 at 7:30 AM Read Social Tips from the editors

VEENENDAAL Recognition, recognition, knowledge exchange and contact with fellow sufferers. To this end, a group of informal caregivers and experienced experts meet every month in the Veenendaal residential care center De Engelenburgh. The Alzheimer Café Veenendaal/Renswoude existed for exactly twenty years last month.

by Marco Diepeveen

Twenty years of volunteer work for informal caregivers and people with dementia. “Actually, the terms ‘Alzheimer’s’ and ‘café’ are not entirely appropriate,” admits coordinator Frans Meijman. He took on this position last year after selling his consultancy firm.

“Because Alzheimer’s disease is only one form of dementia, and at 70 percent it is the most common. Alzheimer Nederland – to which we belong – distinguishes fifty different variants.”


The Veenendaal volunteers are also not entirely happy with the choice of the name ‘café’. “That implies a pleasant and cheerful get-together in a catering establishment, such as a reading café or a cultural café. Our Alzheimer Café is a place for contact with fellow sufferers. For mutual encouragement, for the exchange of personal thoughts and feelings, for increasing knowledge and awareness of dementia.”


Because that is a serious, progressive and incurable disease that must be taken very seriously. Dementia is growing explosively due to population growth and aging. The many baby boomers are now reaching the age at which they can become demented. Five dementia patients are added every hour. Everyone is at risk. And a miracle cure for dementia has not yet been found.

One in five men and one in three women get it
“The Netherlands currently has 300,000 people with an active form of dementia. The government expects the number of patients to double to half a million by 2040. One in five men and one in three women get it. That difference lies in the fact that men have a lower life expectancy than women.” At more than 9 billion euros, dementia care is the largest item in the government’s healthcare budget.


“The pressure on informal caregivers is considerable. Often too large. Also because the elderly have to live at home longer and the government is withdrawing from providing care. It is not without reason that a commercial from Alzheimer Nederland put it so aptly: She has it, he suffers from it. In Veenendaal there are more than 1,250 people with dementia, the youngest of whom is only thirty years old. Four thousand largely invisible informal caregivers are available day and night for them. A forgotten group. In my street alone I already know of three cases in an advanced stage.”


The Alzheimer Café Veenendaal/Renswoude relies on twelve volunteers. More volunteers are always welcome. They can register via: [email protected].

Katharina Goossens is hostess at the monthly meetings. These take place every third Tuesday of the month – with the exception of the months of July and August – in the meeting room of De Engelenburgh.

We are happy that our visitors have the confidence to express themselves in groups

“I receive visitors, serve coffee and take care of the book table. Alzheimer Nederland gives us permission to purchase scientific literature and books from experienced experts. Our visitors can borrow them for free. I also write book reviews in the monthly newsletter.”

On average, the Alzheimer Café attracts thirty-five visitors, of whom 25 belong to the target group. The others are volunteers, case managers and healthcare professionals. People with early-stage dementia also come. The organization of the Alzheimer Café works together with partners such as Veens Welzijn and various healthcare providers.


“We are happy that our visitors have the confidence to vent in a group. To honestly talk about what dementia means in their lives. And what it’s like to care for a loved one with dementia.” A different topic is on the agenda every month. For example, the beneficial effects of music, making the diagnosis or informal care support.

The next meeting of the Alzheimer Café Veenendaal/Renswoude is on Tuesday, December 19 and will focus on music and Christmas. Starts at 7:30 PM. See www.dementieveenendaal.nl

2023-12-09 06:30:00
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