The Department of Social Development is set to conduct dialogues on Alzheimer’s disease in Engcobo, Cofimvaba and Lady Frere in the Eastern Cape, from today until Friday.
This forms part of the build-up to World Alzheimer’s Day, which is commemorated annually on 21 September, where world organisations’ efforts are focused on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Alzheimer’s is a chronic neurodegenerative disease, which worsens gradually as senior citizens advance in years.
Common symptoms include difficulty in remembering recent events, problems with language, disorientation, mood swings and loss of motivation.
The department said it chose the area in the Eastern Cape due to the number of older persons accused of witchcraft and get killed as a result.
“The growing number of affected people causes an increased demand for services to persons affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Lack of information about Alzheimer’s has often led to many people, especially older persons, being accused of witchcraft and killed by their fellow community members because of a lack of understanding of the condition,” the department said.
Alzheimer’s is mostly prevalent amongst older persons, however, its onset may start as early as 30 years.
The condition affects the brain, thus leading to the eventual death of nerve cells and loss of brain tissue, which is regarded as the most common cause of dementia.
Every 68 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease. The condition is often called a family disease, because of the chronic stress of watching a loved one slowly deteriorating, which affects every member of the family. – SAnews.gov.za