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Dementia campaign to be launched

Tinee Furbert, the Minister of Social Development and Seniors (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

More knowledge about dementia could help stop people “suffering in silence”, the Minister of Social Development and Seniors has said.

Tinee Furbert appealed to members of the public after the launch of a campaign to boost support for people affected by the condition.

She said: “Dementia is a growing health concern globally, with nearly 50 million people living with dementia worldwide. Bermuda is no exception.

“Our last census in 2010 documented that 200 people were living with dementia.

“However, since then Action on Alzheimer’s and Dementia in Bermuda, an organisation that works closely with this population, estimates that 2,000 people are living with dementia in Bermuda.”

Ms Furbert said: “As our ageing population continues to grow, the number of people at risk of experiencing cognitive changes caused by dementia increases.

“Unfortunately, many Bermudians suffer in silence due to the fear of being stigmatised.

“Awareness and education are essential in creating a community that contributes to the healthy quality of life for those living with dementia and their caregivers.”

Ms Furbert added: “The intention of our ‘Dementia Care in Bermuda’ campaign is to empower family caregivers, care professionals and members of the general public to collectively enhance the quality of life for those in our community who need support living with those experiencing dementia.

“We are asking the community to participate in our campaign by asking us questions, sharing the information with those who it can benefit most and if you have any information or resources that may assist others, please share.”

Ms Furbert told the public: “If you know someone living with dementia, or someone caring for them, be sure to extend your empathy.

“They need you to be patient, compassionate and observant of their needs.

“Remember that they are human, they have feelings and at the end of the day, we all desire to feel loved.

“Allow yourself to express unconditional love to those living with dementia, and those caring for them – they are still our loved ones.”

The Chicago-based Alzheimer’s Association website said that dementia was “a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life”.

It added: “Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia.”

Ms Furbert said that the Dementia Care in Bermuda campaign will cover a range of topics, such as online training resources, caregiving techniques, handling “troubling behaviours” and power of attorney.

It will include Zoom panel discussions with professionals, workshops for carers, activities for people with dementia, social media interaction and a radio series.

Ms Furbert said: “The Government is exploring ways to enhance care and support for people impacted by dementia.

“The 2020 Throne Speech outlined the development of a National Seniors Strategy that will focus on a strategy for dementia care in Bermuda.

“Gaps in dementia care will be identified and initiatives will be implemented to better support the quality of life for those living with dementia.”

She added: “It is our intention to create a supportive and engaging community that is dementia caring.

“In order to make this a reality, we are appealing for the community to work collectively with us to support those affected by dementia.”

Ms Furbert highlighted organisations that are available to people affected by the condition as well as their carers, which included Ageing and Disability Services, Action on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Bermuda Alzheimer’s and Memory Services and Final Steps.

• The radio series will start with What is Dementia? on Magic 102.7 at 3pm on Thursday. The next Zoom talk will be from 6pm on March 11 and will also be broadcast on CITV, as well as the Government’s Facebook and YouTube accounts.

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Published February 22, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated February 21, 2021 at 6:13 pm)

Dementia campaign to be launched

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