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Alzheimer’s group celebrates 30 years

Kim Wilson, Minister of Health, with Alzheimer’s Support Group leaders — Julie-Kay Darrell, Hope Jones and Marchal Santucci (Photograph provided)

The Alzheimer’s Support Group of Bermuda celebrated its 30th anniversary with a ceremony on Saturday.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, paid tribute to founders Sharon Bulford Dyer Simmons, Jenal Swan and Maxine Webley, along with the group’s many volunteers.

Ms Wilson said: “A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia can come as a shock not only for the person with dementia, but also for family and friends.

“Research has shown that support is vital to the health and wellbeing caregivers.

“It is highly recommended that caregivers and loved ones of people with Alzheimer’s or dementia join a support groups because it can be so challenging — emotionally, mentally, and physically.”

Ms Wilson said that it is estimated that about 1,000 people in Bermuda live with the disease, and the community has seen increased need for services as the population ages.

She said: “The Ministry of Health clearly recognises the importance of supporting families and people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“In my recent budget report, I outlined our recent success in increasing staff at our Ageing and Disability Services, and in updating legislation to improve the protection and support for all adults in need of such care.”

Ms Wilson added: “Improving the health outcomes for all members of our community is a Government priority and doing it in way that is right, is our responsibility.

“That is why we appreciate the work of your support group to help those living with Alzheimer’s and their families.”