An estimated 4,000 persons are currently suffering from Alzheimers’s in Barbados, and this number is likely to rise due to an increasingly ageing society.
Minister of Social Care, Steve Blackett, made this disclosure last Sunday, while speaking at a church service to observe World Alzheimer’s Month.
Mr. Blackett pointed out that persons suffering from Alzheimer’s were “particularly vulnerable” to all types of abuse and neglect in their homes and in institutions, as they could not comprehend or explain what was happening to them.
The Social Care Minister stressed that these issues should therefore be treated with “a measure of seriousness” at all levels of society, and the rights of those affected should be protected.
He noted that the Barbados Alzheimer’s Association’s (BAA) proposed day care programme would provide a solution to tackling dementia as it would assist persons living with the disease, their family members and care givers.
“The Association is desperately in search of a place to start their day care programmes… These programmes are necessary not only to meet the needs of those persons suffering from dementia, but also the needs of care givers. Alzheimer’s, one of the dementias, is a challenge, but by having persons on board who are equipped with the necessary skills, meaningful strides could be made,” Mr. Blackett stated.
He also acknowledged the work being carried out in the region, and shared that a conference held in Barbados earlier this year led to the establishment of a regional Committee which sought to strengthen the work of the respective Alzheimer’s associations.
The Minister also pledged his continued support to this cause, and expressed the hope that research and the dissemination of information would significantly improve the lives of persons suffering from Alzheimer’s and similar diseases.
Each year, the Barbados Alzheimer’s Association and the National Committee on Ageing collaborate to observe World Alzheimer’s Month and World Alzheimer’s Day, both recognised in the month of September.
This year’s theme: Remember Me, was continued from last year, as the campaign proved to be quite effective worldwide at raising awareness about the condition and the associated stigma.