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Alzheimer's Disease or Dementia Awareness

3 September 2014 01:19 pm
Dementia Disease
By Sirohmi Gunesekera (Teacher, Attorney-at-Law and Researcher into Human Relations & The Family Unit)

Marnie was fifty four when she began to forget things and finally, she forgot her home address and was lost on the road. Concerned passers-by brought her home and the family contacted the Lanka Alzheimer’s Foundation (LAF) to try and find out what was wrong. The month of September is globally recognized as Dementia Awareness Month. Preparations are taking place based on the theme “Can We Reduce the Risk of Dementia?”

Written off

Dementia is frequently misunderstood; misdiagnosed or written off as a natural part of ageing when it is far more complex as it can affect people in their 40s and 50s. The Lanka Alzheimer’s Foundation (LAF) supports people with dementia and their families. Having access to the right information, support and care can make a world of difference for people facing dementia. No one should face dementia alone. The LAF’s thirteenth Annual Dementia Awareness Campaign and Flagship Fundraiser kicked off at Food city Rajagiriya on 1st August 2014 and will conclude on 27th September with the 5km “Memory Walk” commencing and concluding at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo. Wednesday 17th September is free "Memory Screening at LAF” and 18th September 2014 is a Public Lecture by Prof. Willie Mendis on “Journey of Caring: My Personal Story” supported by Dr.Upali Kuruppu and Dr.Shehan Williams at 6 p.m at the LAF Auditorium.


”Alzheimer’s changes the lives of everyone it touches. It is essential that we continue working together to create a dementia-friendly environment and dream of a better world for persons with dementia and their families. "said Lorraine Yu, President and Director of the LAF. She said that there were many ways to support the work of the Foundation as they can sustain the services offered only through generous support. You could donate time on the campaign. Volunteer to sell raffle tickets to your family, friends and colleagues-Rs.500/= per book of ten tickets. Participate in the “Memory Walk” and encourage others to walk for a worthy cause. LAF also held for Elder Representative Committees in the Ratmalana and Maharagama divisional secretariats.


WHO Sri Lanka invited the LAF to conduct awareness programs on dementia as part of their “Happy, Healthy and Peaceful Living” Project in the Hambantota District. The Foundation conducted a dementia awareness program in the Homagama educational zone for teachers. LAF stressed the fact that short term memory loss and confusion was not a normal part of ageing and it was important to seek advice and support and have an early diagnosis. How one can reduce the risk of developing dementia was also shared with the group. Recent memory loss is not a normal part of ageing. If you know someone who is worried about their memory or is disoriented or confused do not dismiss their symptoms. Call the helpline and register for a Memory Screening Assessment. “You can also call us for emotional support as often as you need. We know that living with Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming at times. Remember we are here for you.” Make your home safe by avoiding falls, improving lighting, storing dangerous substances in a safe place, using labels and keeping a list of useful contacts in hand such as the local ambulance service, the police, nearest hospital or closest friend or relative to be called in case of an emergency. LW-September-Pg-67-1


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