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GADS marks World Alzheimer's Day today

To mark World Alzheimer’s Month this September the Gibraltar Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society is raising awareness about the dementia and the need for a National Dementia Committee. The Society is holding a month-long campaign including events and the Chronicle is publishing articles weekly on Tuesday’s during the month of September.

GADS has highlighted the need for the National Dementia Committee, announced six years ago, to start meeting and for the Dementia Coordinator and the Dementia Manager to be appointed without further delay.

Daphne Alcantara, GADS Chairperson, said: "There have been significant improvements and achievements to dementia services in Gibraltar, but their are still many challenges ahead. I commend HM Government for recognising that dementia is a Public Health and Social priority and for their initiative in launching The National Vision and Strategy for Gibraltar in 2015 and the updated Gibraltar's National Dementia Strategy (2018-2021) in 2019.

The Gibraltar National Dementia Strategy describes the National Dementia Committee (1) needed to co-ordinate dementia care and the need for the Dementia Coordinator and the Dementia Manager (2):

(1) National Dementia Committee - This will be composed of representatives from all relevant government entities, under the auspices of the Ministry for Health, Care and Justice. The committee will coordinate the development of the strategy through the National Dementia Coordinator and provide a framework with which to champion dementia issues. The National Dementia Committee are there to advise, support and guide the Minister for Health, Care and Justice and HM Government of Gibraltar towards delivering and facilitating a more Dementia Friendly community.

(2) National Dementia Coordinator and Dementia Liaison Manager - The National Dementia Coordinator will become a focal point with which to interact with government entities, charities, voluntary organisations and the community. The Dementia Liaison Manager will make a significant difference in guiding people living with dementia and their families/main carers through the Dementia Journey.

By coordinating services through the Dementia Liaison Manager, people living with dementia will be able to enjoy a better quality of life in their homes, as part of the community, for as long as possible.

Whilst the strategy exists, the National Committee has never met and the Dementia Coordinator and Dementia Manager have still not been appointed. This has not materialised and therefore the strategy cannot be fully implemented.

Many goals and objectives are expiring or have already expired and this indicates a need for renewed commitment from HM Government to improving the quality of lives and outcomes of people living with dementia, their families and carers throughout the Dementia Journey. Strategic goals and objectives alone are not enough, we need concerted action to ensure that all people living with dementia are able to live well with the support and dignity they deserve.

Dementia care is continuously evolving and requires a holistic and dynamic approach to ensure that future challenges are addressed proactively. GADS aim is not only to transform the living experience for people with dementia for today but to be at the vanguard of how health and social care services are delivered, designed, funded, commissioned and evaluated in the future.

Better data governance to improve quality of care is key for improving dementia care, yet there are obstacles to using health data effectively, such as, when a patient has already been diagnosed with dementia for example, their diagnosis is not shared when they are admitted to hospital, compromising high quality care.

GADS vision is to create a society where every person with dementia, their family and carers receive high quality, compassionate competent care; this is from early diagnosis through to end of life care and in all care settings whether at home, in hospital or in residential care, we want the best service to be available so there is more consistency to access care and support and less variation.

GADS goal is clear; to make Gibraltar the best place for people with dementia, their families and carers to live. We want the person with dementia with their families and carers to be at the heart of everything; we want their well-being and quality of life to be first and foremost in the minds of those providing the services, recognising that each person with the condition is an individual with specific and often differing needs".

World Alzheimer's Report launched

The launch of the World Alzheimer's Report 2021 (ADI) takes place today - "Journey through the diagnosis of dementia".

The report focuses on the crucial and timely subject of diagnosis - diagnosis is still a major challenge globally, with estimates that 90% of cases still go undiagnosed and with long waiting times. We are at a pivotal moment with an evolution in diagnostics and potential treatment breakthroughs ; meaning that this is a perfect time to shine a light on the "Journey through the diagnosis of dementia". The report includes over 50 essays from leading experts around the world and is supported by findings from 3 key global surveys, including : 1,111 clinicians 2,325 people with dementia and carers and over 100 national Alzheimer's and Dementia associations.

Across the world dementia continues to be stigmatised, this can often lead to many people avoiding seeking a diagnosis until the mid to late stages and we need to change this. Though receiving a dementia diagnosis can be complex and life changing, a timely diagnosis can enable you to gain access to information, resources/support and plan well.

The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted dementia diagnosis around the world, with to 90% of clinicians identifying Covid-19 as causing additional delays and wait times, to what can already be a difficult and protected process.

This World Alzheimer's Month and beyond it is essential that people living with dementia and their families and carers are provided with guidance and support following a diagnosis.

If you are concerned and recognise any of the warning signs of dementia do not hesitate so speak to your doctor or contact :

The Gibraltar Alzheimer's & Dementia Society (GADS) on tel: 56001422 or email: gadschairman@gibtelecom.net

MEMORY WALK

On World Alzheimer's Day today GADS will be holding a Memory Walk (United Against Dementia) to remember those who have already left us and to support people living with dementia, their families and carers. We would like everyone to join us and show their support by wearing something purple.

The Mayor will lead the walk from City Hall at 7.00pm. Purple is the signature colour of Alzheimer's and on completion of the Memory Walk, City Hill will be lit in purple to recognise the dementia journey and raise awareness.

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