Iran Alzheimer’s Association The officials of education Board of Tehran February 2013
The aim of this project was to enhance awareness of dementia among elementary school children, informing them about the risk factors encouraging them to change their attitude towards people with dementia, reducing stigma and support the family care-givers.The awareness raising was, also, extended to their respective families. The project was introduced to the officials of education Board of Tehran Province in several sessions.After 2 years of negotiation, Iran Alzheimer’s Association was able to receive their consent to implement the project, raising awareness among elementary 5th graders (age 10) in one of Tehran’s 24 districts. 44 elementary schools out of 122 were selected by random cluster sampling in district no.2. The project was initiated by IAA’s health professionals for the health educators, delivering a comprehensive training on dementia for 2 weeks (6 hours). During the sessions the relationship between dementia and children, the need for raising awareness among them were fully discussed and questions were answered. At the end of the course, educational packages containing brochures on “Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias”, “Heads up” (prevention), and a specially developed brochure for children were delivered to the health educators to distribute among 4500 5th graders.The questionnaire form which was included in the educational package contained 14 questions which were to be answered by the parents. 10 questions were related to IAA’s activities and 4 were for the families with suspected cases of dementia. After one month, the questionnaires were collected. 1554 forms were returned to IAA.According to the questionnaires 38.8% of people stated that they did not have any knowledge of dementia and its challenges and 66% of people thought that dementia meant forgetfulness before reading the information. 91.57% were of the opinion that this project can give better understanding of dementia.84% had not heard about IAA.81% had not taken their seniors for medical checkups or dementia test.17% had a suspected case but did not take any action.55% of families with a case of dementia stated that they have seen behavioral changes in their child. 56% feel the stress burden.54% have been looking for help.87% have not used IAA’s services due to lack of information.In conclusion, according to the statements, this project was most effective in raising awareness among children and their families, advocating for IAA’s services and obtaining an estimate of people with dementia in the selected area.