Queen Silvia of Sweden opened a Malteser Hilfsdienst meeting place for dementia patients in Bottrop on Friday. The Bottrop facility is the first Malteser has built for people in the early stages of dementia.
She gets her own chair, of course – with velvet upholstery in dark blue and green. On Friday, Sweden’s Queen Silvia of Sweden (68) opened the Malteser Hilfsdienst’s (MHD) first nationwide meeting place for people with incipient dementia. And was allowed to sit quite nobly. All the others, including the Catholic Bishop of Essen, Franz-Josef Overbeck, as well as the local political celebrities took their seats on profane black plastic chairs.
The monarch does not seem aloof because of this – on the contrary. She seeks a bath in the crowd, eagerly shakes many hands, smiles reservedly. In the center of her then following speech she puts then her donation "Silviahemmet", which she had created 1996 after dementia experiences with her own mother. The foundation trains specially trained "Silvia nurses" who focus on the needs of the patients. A concept that seems to meet with approval from Malteser Germany, which has been in contact with the Swedish organization for ten years now. According to the foundation’s guidelines, Malteser has already formed 2 since 2009.2000 employees and volunteers.
Dementia is a disease that poses great challenges for Sweden and Germany, explains German-born Silvia on this sunny spring day. And adds: World-wide by the demographic change already 35 million humans are ill with it. Without medical progress, 100 million people could suffer from dementia in the future. She still speaks her mother tongue fluently – only when it comes to the year her foundation was founded, 1996, does she pause briefly before pronouncing it. Let there be no number crunching. She then also correctly says "1996" and not "1969". This was well received by the audience and the press, and everyone had to smile. "Nice!" whispers a press photographer.
Insights into private life
In addition to these rather superficial impressions, however, the queen also provides insights into her private life when she reports on her mother’s illness. She has learned how stressful such an illness is for the relatives, too – and that specially trained staff have to focus on the needs of the affected persons.
The "MalTa" meeting place now being built in Bottrop is intended to encourage day visitors suffering from early forms of dementia to take part in various participatory activities. The relatives should also be able to exchange information during the visit. For the future Malteser wants to establish such facilities all over Germany – with different offers for ill people and their families.
After her speech, the queen takes her seat again on the dark blue-green armchair. Once again a reserved smile, as if she could not understand the hype around her person. A little later follows the equally unexcited and friendly farewell. And that is then again somehow royal.