President: Štefanija Lukič Zlobec
Štefanija Lukič Zlobec, president
David Krivec, secretary general
Vlasta Hojan, treasurer
dr. Božidar Flajšman
dr. Lea Žmuc Veranič
asist. dr. Nena Kopčavar Guček
doc. dr. Milica Gregorič Kramberger
Aleš Kogoj, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University in Ljubljana, was born in 1962. He studied medicine and later specialized in psychiatry both in Ljubljana. Since 1986, he was working at the University Psychiatric Hospital in Ljubljana at the Unit for Gerontopsychiatry of which he became Head in 2000. He also held the post of the Associated Professor of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine of the University in Ljubljana.
Still early in his professional career, he became aware of the fact that carers of people with dementia are left more or less on their own and are in acute need of support. For that reason, in 1997 he founded Spominčica (named after the flower forget-me-not) – the Slovenian association for patients with dementia and their carers, following the example of other European countries. Spominčica later became a member of Alzheimer Europe and Alzheimer Disease International. Until last year, he was the president of the Association Spominčica, but because of numerous other professional obligations, handed over the management to his colleagues, while he retained the post of the honorary president of the Association.
For his endeavours and successes in the field of dementia in Slovenia he can certainly be called a pioneer in this field. He also published several professional and scientific papers on the topic.
In 1999, a counselling telephone service and helpline for carers was established in the frames of Spominčica and a newsletter with the same title started to be published. Aleš Kogoj worked with dementia patients and their carers all over Slovenia and soon established a widespread network of Spominčica members, and later local Spominčica groups.
For 25 years, he was holding lectures about dementia and about patient care all over Slovenia. He was an excellent diagnostician and an engaged and patient listener in the process of helping dementia patients themselves as well as their carers. His preparedness to listen and help in all circumstances and at any time was outstanding. In recent years, with his support and help, Spominčica succeeded to raise awareness about dementia in Slovenia substantially.
He was also a passionate mountain climber. In the beginning of July 2014, he fell to his tragic death during one of his climbing trips to the Alps, in the middle of his working career and plans, at only 52 years of age.
All individual members and local groups of Spominčica will try to follow his example and continue with his endeavours in the field of dementia awareness and support.
About Alzheimer Slovenia
Slovenian association for help with dementia – Spominčica, Alzheimer Slovenia, established in 1997, is a non-governmental organization aimed at raising awareness of dementia and helping careers of persons with dementia that are going through a lot of physical and psychological challenges and connecting them to experts. In 2012 we become members of Alzheimer Europe (37 members) and in May 2014 we become member of Alzheimer Disease International (ADI, 84 members). Our activities are also supported by Slovenian members of European parliament who signed Alzheimer Europe Dementia Pledge, that dementia become priority of European public health. As members of Alzheimer Europe and Alzheimer’s Disease International we have available professional support and assistance. Aim of the association is to attract the professionals (doctors specialized in the field of psychiatry, neurology, health professionals and technical staff in the field of care for people living with dementia and social workers) in acting as volunteers. Spominčica has many years of experience providing expert assistance and education to relatives of patients with dementia.
Based on the recommendations of Alzheimer Europe, we launched a program in 2012 “Living with dementia in dementia-friendly environment” with the following activities:
- Professional education program “Forget Me Not” for careers of persons with dementia with expert lectures on the problems of patients suffering from dementia. Lecturers are medical specialists for dementia and medical staff.
- Alzheimer Café: informal gatherings of relatives suffering from dementia supported by technical assistance. The activity started in Ljubljana, today it takes place in locations throughout Slovenia. At the meetings physicians and other professionals dealing with people with dementia give lectures. Meetings contribute to the diagnosis of diseases, awareness and recognition of dementia as the main disease of our time.
- Self-help group for relatives: education is intended for relatives who care for patients suffering from dementia in the home environment; participants acquire skills to formulate strategies for successful care of a person with dementia and communication with them. Self-help group has been running for 10 years.
- Our magazine “Spominčica”. First published in 1999 and since this year published as a separate annex of “Naša Žena” with a circulation of 19,000 copies. It is accessible to the widest Slovenian public. The main aim of the journal is to raise public awareness, in particular, identify the first signs of dementia, which is also the recommendation of Alzheimer Europe.
- Telephone help line where we provide professional support for their relatives suffering from dementia. Advisory phone started its operations back in 2000.
- World Day and Month of Alzheimer’s disease – A walk to remember: the organization of public events to raise awareness about dementia and organization of Memory walk in six Slovenian cities. The first walk was organized in Ljubljana last year under the auspices of the Mayor of the Municipality of Ljubljana.
Our program is co-financed by: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and FIHO (Foundation for financing organizations for disabled and humanitarian organizations in the Republic of Slovenia), Municipality of Ljubljana and our own funds.
As one of our major achievements we can state that Mr. Borut Pahor, President of the Republic of Slovenia (2012 – 2017), has accepted honorary patronage of the 25th Alzheimer Europe conference in Ljubljana in September 2015 on suggestion of the Spominčica Association. Mr. Borut Pahor has responded to our invitation for the patronage and thus endorsed the efforts of the Spominčica Association for raising awareness about dementia in Slovenia. Spominčica Association has with its activities succeeded to raise awareness about dementia in Slovenian society and how to overcome the stigma. All Slovenian MEP signed the Dementia Pledge in May as a result of our campaign and also our president Mr. Pahor became aware of the global problem of dementia. His support and patronage of the Conference will help us on preparation and adaptation of the Dementia National Strategy in Slovenia.