The need for day care services for people with dementia is increasing. A new project will research all aspects of this.

Text: Mette Risbråthe, NMBU
English translation: Inga Sæther, Centre for Rural Research
National policy documents emphasize the importance of green welfare services on farms, such as farm-based day care services for people with dementia. One of these policy documents, the Dementia Plan 2020, was recently issued. The goal is for all municipalities to offer farm-based day care services for the affected group by the year 2020. In addition to the societal gain, care farming could also over time contribute to economic added value into the agricultural sector. Integrating such new types of services could be viewed as a sustainable use of farm resources and as an additional income for the farmer.
Figures from Matmerk show that up to 20 percent of their registered farms (farms that are part of the Dementia Plan 2020 action plan) see people with dementia as appropriate recipients for their offer.
– The aim in this project is to focus on developing the quality of services for people with dementia and to understand and stimulate collaboration between the farms and the municipality, says project manager Grete Patil at NMBU.
The impact of farm-based day care services
One topic analysed in the project deals with people with dementia who participate in such offers, and their next of kin.
– We want to explore the group of users, understand their experiences and examine the possible benefits of farm-based day care services in relation to health and quality of life of the people concerned and their families, says Patil. Both interviews, observation, a cross-sectional survey and longitudinal data will be collected in this part of the study.
Animals and nature care
Furthermore, the researchers will investigate the use of animals, nature and physical activity, to understand how these things contribute to care farming. Interviews, video recordings and activity gauges will be used for investigating this.
– We will also compare care farming to similar day care services in care facilities, says Patil.
Cooperating with the local government
Social, institutional and economic aspects of starting and running green welfare services will also be researched. Particularly interesting is the interaction between the farms and the local government. The methods used for studying this interaction will be studies of farms, surveys and economic models. A dialogue forum consisting of users and their relatives, farmers, health care personnel, and governmental stakeholders will be important for data collection and dissemination.
The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) is leading the project, and the Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Ageing and Health, Centre for Rural Research and the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research are partners. The project runs over a period of four years.
Read more about this project here.

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