Farewell speech Professor Rose-Marie Dröes

For over 40 years, Prof Rose-Marie Dröes conducted research on psychosocial support for people with dementia. On 11 October 2022, she held her farewell speech in the auditorium of the VU University of Amsterdam.


She began her lecture with a poem she wrote as a teenager, where attention to emotions was expressed early on. When she later came in contact with people with dementia, she could not imagine that behavioural and mood problems were all related to brain degeneration. A view that was still common in the 1980s. How people cope with the effects of dementia also partly determined their behaviour and based on that, Rose-Marie developed the adaptation-coping model for dementia care. Besides coping with seven adaptive tasks after receiving the diagnosis dementia, it includes other factors such as personal factors, co-morbidity, material and social factors.

Dit model is de basis geweest voor vele psychosociale interventies die Rose-Marie heeft ontwikkeld en geevalueerd. Het is daarbij altijd belangrijk om goed te weten wat mensen belangrijk vinden voor hun kwaliteit van leven en daar zo goed mogelijk bij aan te sluiten in de zorg en ondersteuning. Een voorbeeld van een psychosociale interventie die gebaseerd is op het adaptatie coping model zijn de Ontmoetingscentra voor mensen met dementie en hun naasten. Deze zijn inmiddels wijd verspreid in Nederland en zijn ook genoemd in de nationale dementiestrategie 2021-2030. Een doel van deze strategie is dat 80% van de thuiswonende mensen in 2030 toegang heeft tot een ontmoetingscentrum in de eigen regio. Ook buiten Nederland zijn er ontmoetingscentra opgezet en geevalueerd.
Rose-Marie has also worked to develop and evaluate e-Health interventions that can help with needs of people with dementia and their loved ones and/or promote quality of life. Examples include FindMyApps, the Fotoscope app, Into d'mentia, and the STAR online training.

Rose-Marie Dröes will continue to work one day a week as professor of psychosocial support for dementia. She also initiated to establish the Academische Werkplaats Hulp bij dementie na de diagnoseThis working place was officially opened prior to her farewell lecture. Its aim is to strengthen the connection between research, education and practice. In doing so, it aims to contribute to improving the care and quality of life of people living at home with dementia and their informal carers but also to promote the expertise of care and welfare professionals and volunteers. This means that despite her chair will cease to exist due to her departure, her long-standing mission can continue.


To top it all off, Rose-Marie Dröes also received a prestigious award from the City of Amsterdam for her years of dedication to people with dementia: the Frans Banninck Cocqpenning!
From the 40 years work experience of Rose-Marie, I worked almost 20 years with her and I’ve learned a lot from her! Many thanks for that and I wish her all the best!