September 2, 2010

PHILIPPINES: When people forget their own memories

MANILA, Philippines / The Philippine Star / Science & Technology / September 2, 2010

FACT: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) became more common due to the prolonged life expectancy of human beings. Contrary to the notion that people’s lives have considerably shortened due to pollution, artificial preservatives and junk food, human life expectancy has actually been lengthened because of modern medicine.

This was according to Dr. Michelle Anlacan of the Alzheimer’s Disease Association of the Philippines (ADAP). “Living longer, however, has made humans more prone to neurodegenerative diseases like dementia,” she said. This is where the ADAP comes in.

ADAP is an organization composed of persons with dementia and their family caregivers, dedicated doctors, medical professionals and others involved in the care of patients.

It has educational programs and support services that help the patients cope with the disease, and the families cope with the patient.

The family and caregivers will especially need the support and proper education on how to properly treat, care, manage and interact with the AD patient.

ADAP also makes efforts in educating healthcare workers all over the country about the disease. Wherever patients may be, there will always be a reliable health specialist they can consult with.

It also aims to raise public awareness about dementia. Extending the proper information about Alzheimer’s disease to the general public will help even people who are not familiar with dementia properly handle a situation when they encounter one. A well-informed public will also lose any prejudices they have of AD patients.

Elderly people already need special care due to their age. With Alzheimer’s disease, they will need even more special care. It is for this reason that ADAP also advocates quality care for the elderly.

Having superior care facilities for the elderly widely available will contribute greatly to optimizing the lives of the patients and their families.

Lastly, ADAP also supports research for scientific advancements in dementia care and treatment. “The organization strives to relieve the world of this disease. If there is a possibility that dementia can ultimately be cured, we surely want to have a part in it,” said Anlacan.

“At the very least, we want to contribute in making the disease more manageable,” she added.

Novartis Healthcare Philippines, a multinational pharmaceutical corporation, supports ADAP in providing quality healthcare to the patients.

Dealing with persons with dementia can be difficult. It requires lot of patience. Difficult as it may be especially for the people who are around the patient, they must learn to understand that the patients themselves are suffering more from the disease than they are. They already forget their own memories; they themselves should not be forgotten.

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