Visiting babies in Danish care homes

Now the Copenhagen care home residents begin to rejoice. The City of Copenhagen follows the lead of the city of Aarhus and introduces the successful “visit baby scheme” in care homes. 

Read the full article (in Danish) here:  Visiting Babies introduced in Copenhagen care homes

Scheme for baby visits to the care home in Aarhus has emerged as a ‘resounding success’

Babyglæde. Ældre Sagen mener, at ordning med besøgsbabyer er »en rigtig god idé«. Aarhus Kommune indførte ordningen for et år siden, og nu kommer Københavns Kommune efter. Ældre Sagen ser gerne, at endnu flere kommuner følger trop. - Foto: Miriam Dalsgaard (arkiv)

Baby Joy! DaneAge believes that the system of visiting babies is “a great idea.” Aarhus Municipality introduced the system a year ago, and now more municipalities will follow suit. Photo Miriam Dalsgaard

There is just something that happens when a baby visits the care home. It creates joy that parents come by with a little optimistic miracle that the elderly may be allowed to hold and interact with.

This is what has happened in Aarhus, and why the municipality started introducing the initiative in all of their care homes a year ago. Aarhus calls the initiative ‘visiting babies’. And the system has emerged as something of a success.

Now follow the City of Copenhagen follows.




Gloal population aging trends: Coursework for Re-thinking aging

Currently, I am participating in an massive online open course (MOOC) from the University of Melbourne on the topic of Re-thinking aging:  are we prepared to live longer?

The free course is offered through Coursera; it started the last week in April and runs for 5 weeks. You can read more about the course and sign up for future offerings at:

We were encouraged to keep a journal or blog about our journey through the course, particularly to note where our opinions and ideas have changed from the beginning of the course to the end. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share the course information and my opinions with you – a little something different than my usual posts 🙂 As such, this will be a work in progress over the next 5 weeks.

Week 1:  Worldwide Population Aging Trends

Week 1 is focused on global population aging. During this week, we heard about how aging trends are measured, what the terms mean, some of the implications of population aging, and completed our first assignment were we chose one country to examine their leading causes of disability, death and life expectancy.

future trends in life expectancy


Q:  What do you think about when you think about aging?

A: When I think about aging, I first think of older adults, typically I think of healthier and/or more active and independent older adults. Next, I think about the life course perspective, that we age throughout our entire lives and that it is a process, not one particular age category or stage of life. I tend to think more about the psychological aspects of aging such as the emotions, experiences, and personal growth that occurs as we live our lives and age.

Q:  What are some of the implications of global population aging (good and bad)? Consider work, family and society in general.

A: Some good implications of global population aging is that there is a greater potential for the knowledge and wisdom that often accompanies aging – if/when older adults have a stronger voice in their communities, there is much to be gained. Another benefit I can envision is that way of life will become easier, as we optimize many aspects of daily life so that functioning, movement, physical tasks and socialization becomes easier to carry out (an example is wider sidewalks and reduction in mobility hazards to accommodate an increasing number of people with mobility issues will actually benefit others in their community).

A negative side of global population aging is that there are fewer skilled workers to provide the important hands-on functions needed, such as in health and social care for all (not just for the older adults). Fewer younger people can also have implications for less innovation, forward-thinking development and risk-taking as older adults tend to engage in these types of activities less, especially professionally.

Assignment:  one country’s profile.

I chose Denmark. The goal of this assignment was to look deeper into the statistics on the leading causes of disability, death and the rates of life expectancy in a particular country.

Per instructions, I used data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)and their data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors study (GBD) for Denmark,, to compare Denmark and Global life expectancy.

1. How did you decide what country to select and did the country’s profile surprise you? Why or why not?

I decided on Denmark as I am living here as a foreigner and wanted to know an updated status on the aging projections for the country. I was pretty surprised to find that the main cause of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) in 1990 was road injuries and that it had fallen over 60% since then (yea!). Danes are generally safe drivers and follow rules, so it was even surprising to me that road injuries was a leading cause.

2. What are the top three causes of premature death in your country in 2010? How are these different, or not, from the top three causes of premature death in 1990?

In 1990, the leading causes of YLL due to death are:
  1. Ischemic heart disease
  2. Cerebrovascular disease, and
  3. Lung cancer.
In 2013, the leading causes of YLL due to death are:
  1. Ischemic heart disease
  2. Lung cancer, and
  3. Cerebrovascular disease. (data was readily available for 2013, so I chose to use that information rather than combing back through for 2010 data).
It appears that only 2 and 3 have switched places, but the rates have fluctuted quite a bit as well. By 2013, heart disease decreased by 62%, lung cancer by 15%, and cerebrovascular disease by 36%. I would guess these decreases were in part due to national (and rather successful) campaigns to reduce smoking and increase exercise and activity. When I first moved to Denmark in 2005, 50% of the population smoked daily, down to around 20% now.
3. What are the five leading causes of Years Lived with Disability (YLDs) in your country? What is the leading cause of years with disability for those 80 years or older? It might be hard to tell on the graph so you can pick more than one.
  1.  Low back and neck pain
  2. Depressive disorders
  3. Skin diseases
  4. Sense organ diseases
  5. Falls
The leading cause of YLDs for those over 70 years old in 2013 is Non-communicable Diseases, the same as the global results. (Information for Denmark was readily available for 2013, not 2010).
4. Consider the leading causes of premature death and the leading causes of years with disability – what risk factors come to mind? Are these risk factors similar to the top three risk factors the Global Burden of Disease study highlighted? Note any differences or surprises you may have when you look at these risk factors.

The leading causes of death are heart and lung diseases/cancers and the leading causes of disability are back/neck pain, depression and skin diseases (Danes used to love to tan a lot, and recent initiatives to reduce this have been implemented). Initially, they may not look related, but thinking a bit more about them, they can be.

When people have chronic pain and/or depression, they tend to be more sedentary and socially isolated, which can increase risks for heart and lung problems over time. Skin diseases do not seem to be as related to the other causes of disability or death.

5. In looking at life expectancy – how does your country compare with the other countries listed? How does it compare between 1990 and 2010? These comparisons can help determine where your selected country is succeeding and where it could be falling behind. For the purposes of this assignment – focus on the column for ‘Life expectancy at birth’ as that is the most cited category for country comparisons.

Life expectancy in Denmark is higher than the global average. In 1990, it was 72.3 for Males and 77.8 for Females.

In 2013, this has increased to 77.8 for Males and 82.0 for Females.

For both genders combined, Denmark increased from about 75 in 1990 to around 80 in 2013.

That wraps up Week 1 of the course. Now, I would really enjoy your opinions and insights in the comments, please share what you think!

Danish model of eHealth

As a follow-up to my previous post on eHealth in Denmark, this shorter, downloadable document (also in English) gives and oversight and real-life examples of the Danish model of eHealth and how eHealth is used in Denmark.

Click on the link below to access it – happy and healthy reading!

The Danish model – Denmark and eHealth

eHealth in Denmark

eHealth in Denmark – eHealth as a part of a coherent Danish health care system

Are you interested in knowing more about eHealth and how it is used in one of the leading countries in eHealth development and use? Click on the link below to access the easy-to-read ENGLISH document from the Danish Ministry of Health (2012).

World’s first mobile hospital lab to help elderly

I found this short article through Healthcare Denmark. Check out their website to find out more about how health and social care is organized and carried out in Denmark, with some more great examples of using technology for health!

World’s first mobile hospital lab to help elderly

September 04, 2015

Mobil Lab
The world’s first mobile hospital laboratory for examination and treatment of elderly citizens in their own home, is now a reality in Denmark.

A collaboration between Køge Hospital and Køge Municipality has resulted in the development of the world’s first mobile hospital laboratory for examination and treatment of elderly and vulnerable citizens in their own home.

The mobile hospital laboratory is staffed with a biomedical laboratory technician from Køge Hospital and a nurse from Køge Municipality. They drive the mobile laboratory to the citizen’s home to examinate and take blood samples. The results are ready within 30 minutes and are sent directly to the citizen’s GP, who assesses whether there is a need for hospitalization or if treatment can take place in the citizen’s own home.

The target group consists of elderly and vulnerable patients who suffer from urinary tract infections, COPD, dizziness, dehydration, diarrhea, constipation or infections. With the mobile laboratory, many elderly can avoid a trip to the doctor or a stressful hospitalization and instead get their treatment at home.

Q&A: How can psychologists help?

Recently, I was contacted by a Danish journalist through my blog here. At first, I was super excited that a journalist was quoting me and wanted some further information! I mean, that’s great news and a great feeling 🙂

Then, I realized that she was quoting someone else and I’m not exactly sure why she thought it was me….

So, I wrote her with the real author’s name and with a response that I hope will be useful for her in her article. Her mail and my response are below – I have translated them into English. Continue reading

Danes love assisted living technologies

Experiencing technologies as part of everyday life breaks down prejudice and misconceptions!

Odense Health - Innovation & Business

According to a new survey from the European Commission, Danes are the most positive and open-minded towards robots and robotic aids in Europe.

View original post 471 more words

Dementia: A good, safe, and dignified life with welfare technology

Come and hear about welfare technology and dementia! It’s free to join – but you must register before 9 September. I wish that I could attend, but unfortunately will be busy that day. If you are attending, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Dementia:  A good, safe, and dignified life with welfare technology 

Come to Welfare Tech’s themed event on dementia. We set the focus on welfare technology solutions that create a good, safe, and dignified life for people with dementia. The events of the day will address the needs of both the person with dementia, the relatives as carers, and present the solutions available on the market. Continue reading

Social and Health-Care Policy for the Elderly in Denmark

This information comes to us from the Global Action on Aging, based in New York City. The copyright at the bottom of the page is for 2002, so my best guess is that this is an old article. However, I wanted to post it here because it gives some insight into the care policy in Denmark.

Social and Health-Care Policy for the Elderly in Denmark

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Danes: Spend more on elderly care

This post comes to us from The Local, one of 2 English news sources in Denmark.

Danes: Spend more on elderly care

 July 31, 2015

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Danish legislation on GPS and dementia

This article comes to us from Stella Care. Stella Care is a Danish company that solves social problems by using and further developing proven technology, so it can be used for purposes other than originally intended. They specialize in offering small GPS trackers suitable for people with dementia. The article by Stella Care is originally in Danish (you can access it by clicking on the title, below), and I have translated and edited the article into English. 

Legislation on GPS for people with dementia (and Stella Cares role)

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What’s it like to be an unemployed dementia specialist?

Shortly said, it’s incredibly frustrating.

By 2015, there are very few people who have not hear of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. Many people have also had personal experience with a friend, family member, or community member who has developed dementia. Many people are also aware that there are more and more people being diagnosed with dementia, and that there is a growing demand for quality care and services. Most governments specifically announce an increased need for qualified professionals in the area of dementia.

In a time when there is a growing demand for dementia specialists, it is both confusing and counteractive to be unemployed.

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Dementia and Denmark’s 2015 election

Today, June 18, 2015, is election day in Denmark. Citizens around the country are coming out to vote today. While I am not a citizen so cannot vote in the large elections, I am excited to say that no matter which party wins the election, dementia is already earmarked to get more funding and attention 🙂

The article below comes from the Danish news sources DR and Dagbladet. I have made the translation to English and slightly edited the content for more context. Plus added some opinions 😉

Du må også læse denne indlæg på dansk her.

Thorning and Løkke will strengthen the plan for people with dementia

Both main candidates are ready to put money towards helping people with dementia, writes Politiken.

Ældre dement

Both Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Lars Løkke Rasmussen promise more money for people with dementia in today’s politics. © Colourbox

Whatever the outcome of the election, people with dementia and their relatives can look forward to more focus on the growing disease, writes Politiken (a Danish news source) this past Monday. In the article, two almost identical policy proposals are presented from the Liberal Party and from the Social Democrats and the Radicals, both of which will improve the response to the disease.

Over 90,000 people are currently living with dementia in Denmark, and the number is expected to grow rapidly as 134,000 are projected to be afflicted with dementia in 2030.

Dementia is a widespread disease

In a joint initiative, the Social Democrats and the Radicals want to propose a new long-term strategy on dementia, while the Liberals want a new action plan for dementia.

You can read more about Denmark’s National Dementia Strategy from 2011-2014 in my post here and the Dementia Alliance’s recommendations for 2015-2025 – in Danish – here.

Dementia is a major widespread disease and surely a bit overlooked,

says Liberal Party chairman Lars Løkke Rasmussen to Politiken. He believes that the rapid growth in the number of dementia diagnoses calls for action.

I know from people I talk to, dementia, and to be relatives of a person with dementia, is a huge challenge. Many are powerless. Therefore, we will strengthen efforts, he said.

Shortly after the Liberal Party’s proposals, Politiken had contact with the Social Democrats, who returned with the message that the party, together with the Radicals, are ready with a joint proposal on a long-term strategy.

It is a terrible disease,

says (current) Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Social Democrat), who presents the proposal along with Economic and Interior Minister  Morten Østergaard (Radical).

Wow, really? This is all they have to say about dementia? I must say, that’s a huge disappointment.

From Dagbladet (Danish news source)

Løkke and Thorning agree about more money for people with dementia

The Liberal Party’s action aims at creating better equipped staff, better support for caregivers, increased diffusion of new welfare technology, more dementia housing, and a more streamlined system with one ministry responsible instead of three, which today share the responsibility for the area. It is not clear how much money the party will set aside for the area, but the party has already set aside 16 billion kroner (around $2.45 billion USD) for the elderly and health until 2020.

The Social Democrats and the Radicals will first map the social, health, and housing challenges in the area. In addition, the parties’ strategy has five broad areas of focus: respite and relief for the relatives, arrangement of housing for people with dementia, competency development in home care and assisted living and nursing care facilities, an overhaul of the rules for appointment of a guardian, and expedited treatment in hospitals and clinics for patients with dementia. These current government parties will prioritize 400 million kroner (around $61.15 million USD) to dementia between 2016 and 2019 through the allocation of grants.


Broken down, the current government (Social Democrat and Radical) has already allocated over 120 million kroner in grant money in 2015-2018 for initiatives targeted towards dementia. It has also set aside 70 million kroner in 2016, 90 million kroner in 2017, and 120 million kroner annually in 2018 and 2019 for follow up on the strategy. Furthermore, in their entire Elderly policy, they have set aside 60 million kroner to have fixed doctors in nursing and care homes, 300 million for strengthening efforts to combat loneliness among the aged, and 190 million towards better food for the aged. That’s a grand total of 950 million kroner that has already been designated towards bettering the lives and care of the elderly between 2016-2019. You can read their strategy – in Danish – here.

While I, personally, think Lars Løkke is speaking of dementia more as an election strategy (I am not a fan of his and since it’s my blog, I feel like I can say that), it is great that the Liberals are setting aside so much money for dementia care, education, and research. HOWEVER, if you read their elderly and health policy plan that is available on their website (detailed here, in Danish), that 16 billion kroner is for the whole kitty, of which, they only mention as #6 of their 7 priorities:

Greater focus on dementia and chronic illnesses:  We will make higher quality in the care for the chronically ill patients by offering a more goal-oriented, systematic, and consistent action. At the same time, we need to detect and diagnose dementias quicker.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that all the 16 billion is going towards dementia – I am expecting that more money will still go towards cancer, heart, and lung diseases than dementias, as happens globally.

Compared to the 30.6 million danish kroner ($4.7 million USD) allocated to the National Dementia Plan from 2011-2014 (the results of which, we really don’t know), more money definitely needs to be set aside for dementia. And it’s definitely a good thing that the Social Democrats and Radicals already have money set aside for evaluation/follow-up of their efforts!

European tour for professionals in aged and disability care

European tours for professionals in aged & disability care (Australia)

I came across this advertisement through the Telehealth and Telecare Aware newsletter I receive. I immediately contacted Elizabeth Dodd to see if it was possible I could join in the tour while they are here in Denmark, or if I could be of any help in finding places to visit or contacts while here. After some weeks of email correspondence to work out a price (I wouldn’t be joining the whole tour, and I won’t need any of the accommodation, meals, or transportation), we agreed that I could join the group while they are here in Denmark for 2 days and I will make a webinar for them at a later date in lieu of payment! I am SUPER excited about this!!
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Dementia village coming to Denmark!

Odense to build Denmark’s first dementia village

Du kan også læse denne indlæg på dansk her.

04. June 2015
Odense bygger Danmarks første bydel til demente

OK-Fund contacted Odense Municipality about a year ago to create a one-of-a-kind dementia offer in Denmark. It happens now with the construction of an entire new district with dementia. The key for us was to find a municipality that is willing to take the lead and dare to think new , says OK Foundation director Michael Brostrøm who here signs the agreement with the Mayor Anker Boye ( S ) , Councilman per Berga (EL ) and urban and cultural councilor Jane Jegind (V).

Inspired by Holland included new dementia city precinct – OK Foundation builds and operates the “City of Life.” The ground has yet been found.

Odense: “City for Life” is the name of a whole new city precinct; a district which from 2018 will house between 200 and 300 people with dementia.

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