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World Alzheimer’s Month: ‘Never too early, never too late’

Today marks the start of World Alzheimer’s Month, with a campaign set to raise awareness about dementia.

The theme for this year’s event is “never too early, never too late”, and Gibraltar’s knitters and crocheters have joined in the efforts by producing purple post box toppers which went on display as from this morning.

Later this month, the GHA and local charity, the Gibraltar Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society, will mark World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21.

“The never too early, never too late campaign aims to underscore the pivotal role of identifying risk factors and adopting proactive risk reduction measures to delay, and potentially even prevent, the onset of Dementia,” the GHA said in a statement.

“This includes ongoing risk reduction strategies for individuals who have already received a diagnosis.”

The GHA said the following need attention to manage the risk factors associated with Dementia and help slow progression and manage the condition, including staying physically active, eating healthily, basic health checks and management of underlying conditions such as hearing, blood pressure and blood sugar.

The GHA also recommends people staying socially engaged, and to avoid becoming socially isolated; managing depression; avoiding head injuries including protecting your head when involved in high risk sports; reducing Air Pollution; not starting smoking or quitting if the individual smokes; not drinking excessively; keeping a healthy weight and educating the community especially young people about these risk factors and raising awareness.

The Elderly Residential Services have kick started this year’s Dementia Awareness Month with a Purple Post Box Topper Campaign.

Photo by Johnny Bugeja

“The project came about as the result of a light-hearted comment during an informal chat,” the GHA said.

“The collaboration between ERS, Royal Gibraltar Post Office, Knit Gibraltar, and members of the local community over the last two months has been amazing with 100% commitment by all of those who have been involved in this voluntary campaign.”

“This campaign has seen this wonderful Dementia Awareness initiative come to fruition.”

“The toppers were placed late on Thursday night to maximise the impact when Gibraltar woke up this morning.”

“The GHA would like to thank the Minister for Postal Services, Vijay Daryanani, and the Gibraltar Post Office Staff for their support in enabling us to use the post boxes to raise awareness this month showing a collaboration between Government Departments for raising awareness in the Gibraltar community.”

“There are 28 toppers all around Gibraltar for the local community and visitors to enjoy.”

“Please see the map which shows where they are and who has made them.”

The GHA is encouraging the public to take photographs with the toppers and if they wish share them on social media using the hash tag #NeverTooEarly #NeverTooLate #ReduceRiskNow so that they can play a part in raising awareness of Dementia this month.

“I am delighted to play a small part in supporting this project,” Mr Daryanani said.

“Dementia is a difficult condition to live with for the patients and their families.”

“As a Government, we are fully committed to making Gibraltar as Dementia friendly as possible.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the GHA and GADS for the fabulous work they do in raising awareness.”

“For me, it is a privilege to be allowed to do my bit too.”

Director General, Professor Patrick Geoghegan OBE took the opportunity to thank all the knitters and crocheters who have voluntarily taken on the project during the summer months.

“Unfortunately, many have been diagnosed with Dementia and we all need to raise awareness and assist both patients and their families during this difficult journey,” he said. “To help us achieve this objective and as promised the GHA have appointed Karen Truman as our Dementia Coordinator, Karen’s role is to support this client group and their families.”

For his part, the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, underscored his continued support for Dementia.

Mr Picardo said: “Dementia is something we, unfortunately, cannot avoid.”

“It is something I have lived in my own family.”

“It's something I know has deeply affected very many families in Gibraltar and around the

World.”

“Today, September 1, marks the start of World Alzheimer’s Month and I want to recognise the great work done in partnership by the Government and the Gibraltar Alzheimer’s and Dementia Society.”

Mr Picardo said last year he became a Dementia Friend, together with his cabinet colleagues, and committed his Government’s support to “making Gibraltar a Dementia Friendly society”.

“I am very pleased to see that many Government departments and Ministries have now become Dementia Friends and, like me, are now even more aware of what it is like to live with Dementia,” the Chief Minister said.

“I would like to thank Daphne Alcantara from GADS for her work as a Dementia Champion in

rolling this out across Gibraltar and recommit my Government’s support to making the lives of those living with dementia, and their families, as comfortable and dignified as possible.”

“I look forward to meeting with Daphne on Monday ahead of the meeting of the Gibraltar Cabinet where we will continue to discuss the rollout of our National Dementia Strategy.”

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