People with the disease of forgetting things, places and familiar people on a daily basis, known as ‘people with Alzheimer’s Disease’, need our support and understanding, says medics.
Those who make futile attempts to connect their past with the present, to travel to the future, indeed, need a nudge to live a life with the minimum satisfaction, consciously and emotionally.
“The number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is on the rise and in our clinic alone, as many as 3,000 cases are reported from different governorates’, says Dr Saleha al Jadidiyah, Chairperson of the Oman Geriatric Society.
Dementia is a term used to describe different brain disorders that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. It includes brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and affects people around the age of 60. Other causes include vascular disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia, according to her.
“Early symptoms of dementia can include memory loss, difficulty performing familiar tasks, problems with language and changes in personality’’, adds Dr Saleha, who is also the Head of Consultant Psychiatry at Al Masarra Hospital.
There is currently no cure for dementia, but a range of support is available for people with dementia and their carers.
Dementia knows no social, economic or ethnic boundaries.
According to a WHO data published in 2018 Alzheimer’s and Dementia deaths in Oman reached 397 or 3.86 per cent of the total deaths. The age adjusted death rate is 32.04 per 100,000 of population which ranks Oman 49 in the world.
“Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia that affects people around the age of 60. In some cases, however, the symptoms can manifest at the early age of forty, causing significant challenges for the patient and their family members’’, says Dr Hamed al Sinawi, Senior Consultant — Psychiatrist at the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU)
“Sometimes, the symptoms would affect how they make decisions related to the job and deal with colleagues around them. Some patients exhibit inappropriate behaviour causing embarrassment to their family’’, adds Dr Al Sinawi.
Aiming at giving better care and spreading awareness about the lifelong medical condition, the Oman Alzheimer’s Society was founded by Dr Hamed al Sinawi in 2013 and has been a member of the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) since 2018. Based in the US, the Association is has recently launched a ‘Dementia Friends programme’ to support those who tend to keep forgetting.
Some of the services provided by the association include various educational events for the patients and their families, helpline, resources such as fact sheets, reading materials, etc and conducting seminars, webinars and workshops all aimed at creating awareness about the disease.
“Around 5 per cent of people aged 65 and above have dementia particularly Alzheimer’s disease, although it is caused by increasing age due to biological brain changes along with other risk factors such environmental and genetics’’, said Dr Al Jadidiyah.
And what they need is love, affection, care and understanding. It’s all about treating them as people among us and extend our helping hand to them.
She further said that the Oman Geriatric Society is taking lead to educate healthcare providers and caregivers about Dementia.
In the virtual Alzheimer’s symposium which will be held on September 21, from 5 pm to 9 pm, the speakers from Oman Geriatric Society will discuss about overall dementia, treatment, nursing care and caregivers’ support as well as ethical considerations with dementia. The symposium is expected to come up with recommendations to the authorities.