Bologna Inside - Second Edition

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The city and region’s websites are good places to start for a preview of the resources available to senior citizens:

Culturally, Italians prefer to care for the elderly at home and it is very normal for grandparents and great-grandparents to live with their children. Most nursing homes in Bologna are private structures called case di riposo (rest homes). These facilities range from basic care to extremely elegant and costly. Check the yellow pages under CASE DI RIPOSO.

If you have a loved one who is ill with cancer, there are some important resources in Bologna that can help you. One is ANT - Fondazione Associazione Nazionale Tumori (National Tumor Association Foundation) which provides free at-home assistance and hospice care for oncological patients.

ANT - Associazione Nazionale Tumori

Via Jacopo di Paolo, 36
Tel. 051.7190111

The following in-patient structures provide palliative care to terminal oncological patients as well as psychological support for their families.

Hospice Maria Teresa Chiantore Sergànoli

Via Marconi, 43-45
Tel. 051.8909611

Hospice Ospedale Bellaria

Padiglione Tinozzi
Via Altura, 3
Tel. 051.6225111

I love Italy’s ancient herbal medicine shops - they’re like a step back in time. Most herbalists are very knowledgeable about the different effects of herbs, plants and their derivatives. One hot and muggy summer night, when no amount of chamomile tea could help me sleep, an erborista suggested an all-natural herbal tincture called Erbe della Notte. It really worked. I also relied on the erboristeria for bulk almond oil during my two pregnancies (commonly used by Italian women to keep their skin beautiful) and even found non-toxic dye when I wanted to color Easter eggs.

Andrea Vogt

Special Needs

“É qui l’America” is used when something in Italy works really well. In my experience, it definitely applies to handicap assistance in Emilia Romagna. Our son Guido was diagnosed with cerebral palsy through a routine post-birth head sonogram. He looked and behaved normally, but specialists said he would have motor and mental problems. When Guido was 6 months old we went to the US to finish my post-doc research and Guido was seen by a pediatric neurologist who recommended weekly therapy (a volunteer showing us exercises at home). It soon became clear that Guido’s motor development was falling behind his twin brother, Riccardo. When we returned to Italy, Guido was immediately inserted into intense therapy, three times a week by a physical therapist. He and his brother were given priority at public day care, its stimulating environment considered essential for development. The Comune provided transportation and a volunteer to assist the teachers. With time, I discovered a vast network for both medical and financial assistance. A pediatric neuropsychiatrist follows Guido’s motor and cognitive development and coordinates the institutions involved, aiming for maximum social integration and autonomy. A commission of teachers, parents, socio-sanitary operators and local authority creates a personalized plan and meets biannually to discuss progress. Guido goes to a regular school as is the right of all disabled pupils in Italy. His class can have no more than 20 students (instead of 25) and has an extra didactic support teacher as well as an educatore. Many parents of “normal” kids hope their child will be placed with a “certified” one, as the entire class often benefits from the additional support. In first grade, Guido struggled with writing between the lines. At the Regional Center for Linguistic and Cognitive Disability, his difficulties were attributed almost entirely to visual problems. Via help from the ASPHI (Association for Developing Projects to Reduce a Handicap by Means of Information Technology), Guido now studies autonomously using material prepared specifically for him. The school even acquired software for transforming graphic files into text, read to him by a synthetic voice. It has been a tremendous help.

Marianne van Buuren