Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steven Blackett, is urging Barbadians not to give up on the fight against Alzheimer???s – a disease he says has ???taken the lives of many iconic persons???.

Mr. Blackett made this plea yesterday while delivering his remarks at Dementia: The Way Forward, a joint regional conference hosted by Alzheimer???s Disease International and The Barbados Alzheimer???s Association, at The Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

He continued: ???We cannot give up on the fight against this disease of the mind that is robbing us of the gems in our society who have sacrificed so much in the establishment of our dear nation. We must not give up.???

With over 4,000 diagnosed cases in Barbados, Mr. Blackett acknowledged that one sole initiative would not win the fight against the disease, as it required joint, synchronised efforts.

One such effort he highlighted was the ???synergistic relationship??? between Alzheimer???s Disease International and The Barbados Alzheimer???s Association ??? two organisations that continue to highlight and bring awareness to the effects of Alzheimer???s.

The Minister further applauded the local Alzheimer???s association, which, over the past years, has been working towards its mission of identifying, developing and promoting programmes to educate the Barbadian public about Alzheimer???s disease.

Mr. Blackett also applauded and commended the care-givers who contribute greatly to the fight against Alzheimer???s, noting they often have to ???sacrifice their time and in many cases the comfort of their own families??? to care for these persons.

The Social Care Minister encouraged local organisations to collaborate with the Government of Barbados to ???fight for the mental health of our elderly citizens???.

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