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GADS to hold awareness event this weekend

To mark World Alzheimer’s Month this September the Gibraltar Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society is raising awareness about the warning signs of dementia. 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.

This year's campaign 'Know Dementia / Know Alzheimer’s' focuses on the importance of early diagnosis and encourages people to spot the warning signs of dementia but also to remember those whose are living with dementia or may be worried about the condition and to highlight that a diagnosis of dementia can lead to greater access to treatment, improved care and better quality of life.

The Gibraltar Alzheimer's and Dementia Society will be holding an Awareness Event on Saturday, September 18, 2021 in Main Street (opposite The Cathedral) from 9am to 1pm to increase awareness, acceptance and understanding of dementia. GADS will be supported by ERS, Care Agency, medical, health and social care professionals to engage with the general public, provide accurate information and offer advice and support, there will be literature and information available as well as crafts and items made by the residents of Mount Alvernia.

The Tower of Homage will be lit in purple from September 18 to 21, and Mount Alvernia will also be lit in purple on September 21 (World Alzheimer's Day) in support of people living with dementia and their family and carers.

Dementia Friends Gibraltar
On Monday, September 20, 2021 the Mayor opens the City Hall and invites the public to become a Dementia Friend. The society wants to highlight the importance to talk about dementia and break the silence surrounding dementia by urging everyone to join in the conversation by becoming a Dementia Friend.

The Mayor has invited the community to join him at The City Hall on Monday, September 20, 2021 at 7.30pm and become a Dementia Friend.

The Dementia Friend presentation will by given by GADS Chairperson, Daphne Alcantara.

Limited seats available so please contact the Mayor’s office on tel: 200 47592 or email: mayor@gibraltar.gov.gi or
GADS on email: gadschairman@gibtelecom.net

The Gibraltar Alzheimer's and Dementia Society launched Dementia Friends Gibraltar in 2017 to change people's perception of dementia locally and raise better understanding and greater awareness of dementia in our community.

The society wants to create a long term commitment and a community in which people living with dementia feel more understood and included in our community. Dementia Friends Gibraltar wants people of all ages and from all walks of life to understand a little more about dementia and to turn their understanding into action to help improve the lives of people living and affected by dementia.

Daphne Alcantara, GADS Chairperson, said: "According to statistics (2019) there are nearly 500 people diagnosed with dementia in Gibraltar, a number which is growing every year. There is still little understanding about dementia - many people believe that dementia only affects the elderly and have no idea that it can impact younger people.

Dementia Friends programme is our biggest initiative to change people's perception of dementia, we want to change the way people think, act and talk about dementia. We need to get a far greater involvement from all sectors of our community, not just the government and policy makers to ensure that people living with dementia and their families feel properly integrated in our community.

Stigma and lack of understanding can cause many people living with dementia to experience loneliness, isolation and social exclusion - Gibraltar is a small place and I am confident that if we all pull together, change can be achieved and we can improve the lives of those affected and living with dementia.

What is a Dementia Friend?
A Dementia Friend is someone who attends an Information Session and learns 5 key messages about dementia, a little bit about what it is like to live with dementia and then turn their understanding into a practical action that could help someone living with dementia.

Actions can range from being patient in a queue because you have understood that people with dementia may struggle to recognise coins, to helping someone find the right bus, every action counts. No action is too big or too small and when combined can lead to a step change on how society responds to dementia.

Why join Dementia Friends Gibraltar?
By actively challenging stereotypes and raising awareness through simple and accessible information Dementia Friends Gibraltar is working to transform our community to enable those living with the condition to feel more included and empowered and to help realise their rights.

By joining Dementia Friends you will be positively contributing to changing attitudes about dementia in Gibraltar, together we can work to champion the rights of people living and affected by dementia.

Why being a Dementia Friend supporter in the workplace is so important?
Dementia can impact the workplace in many ways. It could be the daily challenges of someone at work managing the early stages of dementia, or a caregiver juggling work and caring for a loved one.

3 out of 4 people will know someone with dementia which means that there are people you work with everyday who are touched in some way by dementia. Chances are your workplace also interacts daily with customers or service users who have a personal link to dementia.

Ms Alcantara, said: "I am aware that building a Dementia Friendly community will take some time but Gibraltar is a small place and I am confident that if we all pull together, change can be achieved and we will help improve the lives of many families affected and living with dementia. Our goal is to make Gibraltar a Dementia Friendly community with businesses, organisations and the ordinary man in the street being made aware that there are people living with dementia locally that need to be understood and treated with dignity and the respect that they deserve."

"One of our priorities is to challenge the public, the medical, health and social care professionals and the policy makers to ensure that Gibraltar is a Dementia Friendly community, we need to see Dementia Awareness become part of the GHA and other relevant departments and agencies whereby they offer better education, understanding and training to all health and social care professionals so that they can better support people living with dementia, their families and carers."

GADS wants to highlight the importance to talk about dementia and break the silence surrounding dementia by urging everyone to join in the conversation by becoming a Dementia Friend.

Anyone can become a Dementia Friend - you do not need any previous experience or knowledge of dementia, we want people of all ages and from all walks of life to understand a little bit about dementia.

Together we can create a more dementia-friendly community, join us and help us make sure nobody in Gibraltar faces dementia alone.

MEMORY WALK

Join our friendly-family Memory Walk on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 (World Alzheimer's Day) and make a real difference to people living with dementia.
The Memory Walk will be led by the Mayor and will set off at 7.00pm from the Piazza in front of the City Hall.
The City Hall will be lit in purple.

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