The Dominica Dementia Foundation has launched an online support group for those caring for the elderly at home.
The Foundation stated in a release that the online service will take the form of a what’s app group with a monthly hour-long zoom meeting on a Sunday afternoon and will be run with the support of counsellor Tina Alexander, of Lifeline Ministries.
The announcement of the initiative coincided with World Alzheimers Day which was observed on September 21. The whole of September was devoted to raising awareness of the needs of the Elderly across the globe especially in this COVID season.
“We, in Dominica, especially appreciate the contribution of our Elders and celebrate the large number of centenarians we have in our small society. The members of the Dominica Dementia Foundation want to highlight the needs of the carers of those with dementia and are offering an online support group,” the Dominica Dementia Fundation stated in a release.
The Dominica Dementia Foundation (DominicaDementiaFoundation.org) is a member of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI). This international organisation calls for the global community to come together to form an action plan to protect those with dementia from the worst ravages of Covid-19 and highlights that further data on dementia-Covid mortality is urgently needed.
Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia and older people are the most at-risk group for Covid-19, with 86% of all Covid-19 deaths being among people aged 65 and over. According to the London School of Economics and University College London live report, “Impact and mortality of COVID-19 on people living with dementia” – up to 75 per cent of Covid-19 deaths globally are in care facilities where the residents have dementia as an underlying condition.
The Foundation points out in its release, that it is crucial to respect the COVID Protection protocols about visiting the elderly and be especially cautious about social distancing and respiratory etiquette around your older Loved Ones. The DDF goes on to say that it is hard for older people, especially those with dementia, to manage technology but it is clearly safer to stay in touch using the phone if possible rather than visiting. DDF advise create a bubble of a limited number of “safe” caregivers around the elderly person, who are themselves avoiding crowds and observing protocols.
“We are very fortunate to have several centenarians in Dominica, many of whom surprise us with their mental acuity. To maintain wellness with age, we need to be aware of our lifestyle and diet,” The DDF notes. “Sadly, however, Dementia is becoming more common. Whilst the exact causes are unknown, we do know that Dementia is a neurodegenerative disease that usually affects the elderly, however, there have been cases of early-onset Dementia which can even affect individuals from their 30s onward.”
Founder of Dominica Dementia Foundation, Rianna Patterson, is commending the caregivers and care homes in Dominica that are taking care of the elderly during this difficult period and points out that it is “extremely challenging” for those with Dementia to deal with the “unseen” threat of COVID, as another situation which they must adapt to. She has this message for the general public.
“Do not abandon people living with dementia. The Carer’s job never ends; never stop caring even if your loved one can no long show love to you. We must care for those unable to care for themselves, as a Nation. Let us strive for Dominica to become a Dementia-Friendly Island.”
People who know someone who needs psychosocial support in caring for someone with dementia are asked to make contact by emailing email@example.com or sending a what’s app message to Lifeline Ministries on 7672358367.