100%SwissDEM: USI Institute of Public Health turns to the senior community

The Institute of Public Health (IPH) of USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and the Department of Health and Social Sciences (DSS) of the Canton of Ticino collaborate on the first epidemiological study on the health of the elderly in Ticino, SwissDEM , which will be launched in September 2020 thanks to the support of the National Fund for Scientific Research and the participation of Consiglio degli Anziani, Pro Senectute and Alzheimer Ticino. Preparing for this study, the IPH is launching the campaign, 100%SwissDEM, which sees researchers and the population team up to raise awareness of the importance of participation in population studies, aimed at encouraging dialogue and prevention.

Under the motto "Everyone counts", USI Institute of Public Health launches a 100-day campaign to promote participation in studies on the health of the senior community, and does so through the voice and faces of twenty-two participants already involved in this research. Through this epidemiological research, thanks to the interaction with the population and, in this case, with people over the age of 65, data will be collected on the incidence and frequency of diseases, and the mental health status will be analysed more extensively. What motivates people to participate? Why suggest to a family member to take part in the study? Why make yourself available to the community? Thanks to video testimonies one can listen to personal stories and think about the importance of talking about the health of seniors and listening to their needs.

"The Institute of Public Health has created this unique campaign in collaboration with seniors living in Ticino. Its peculiarity is that it was not built "in a laboratory", but in collaboration with the same population to which it is addressed. In fact, throughout the development phase of 100% SwissDEM, we had a continuous dialogue with 22 participants in previous studies, who provided us with both the content of the campaign and the faces for its promotion. In the extensive dialogue that has been established, we have learned a lot about the barriers and motivations to take part in epidemiological research concerning their health," says Emiliano Albanese , Director of IPH.

The 100% SwissDEM campaign has a clear objective in its name: to achieve 100% participation by the participants who will be selected for the study in September and thus achieve maximum benefit for as many people as possible through health promotion measures. The SwissDEM study is part of the Cantonal Strategy on Dementia: "This research is based on proximity and dialogue with the community and it is essential to know the needs of people with dementia and their carers to whom public health can help to respond. In August, a thousand letters will be sent throughout the Canton of Ticino inviting the population to take part in the study, which will be developed over two years," explains Anna De Benedetti , President of the Cantonal Commission for the implementation of the cantonal strategy on dementia.