Acting Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, chatting with Chairperson of the National Committee on Ageing, Maizie Barker-Welch, following the opening of the seminar.

Alzheimer’s disease accounts for more than 50 per cent of dementia cases in Barbados, and unlike in the past, more could be done to assist sufferers of this disease.

Acting Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, in speaking about the effects of this disease on the elderly population, expressed concern about the care these persons received from family members.

Noting that word games, cross words and basic physical exercise at home, as well as proper nutrition, could reduce the inclination towards this disease, she said often the level of care which was required was outside the scope of family members.

Senator Sandiford-Garner was addressing the National Seminar on Alzheimer’s Disease, hosted by the National Committee on Ageing at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre today.

She said: "More often than not, they [family members] lose patience and ill-treat these persons, and in several cases, they abandon them altogether. Some families take the person to our island’s hospital and leave them there, never to return for them."

Mrs. Sandiford-Garner suggested that in this regard, "more training programmes should be organised for those who have to care for elderly relatives and who are genuinely interested in assisting their loved ones through this stage of their lives".

The Acting Minister added that the phenomenon of a population living longer was a worthwhile goal to be achieved and maintained, since it meant that there would be a greater opportunity for an exchange and cross-fertilisation of ideas among the elderly and the youth.

She also praised the Committee for exploring the idea of introducing community-based programmes, which would allow elderly persons to interact wholesomely with the youth, and said these would encourage and facilitate inter-generational communication and mentorship between the two generations.????

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