to set up a day care centre for the thousands of sufferers in this country.
President of the association, Pamelia Brereton, told this to Barbados TODAY this morning, just after her organisation had launched a one cent coin drive at the Central Bank of Barbados, to raise five million cents or $50,000 towards the goal of opening the centre.
“Right now, we would basically need about $500,000 to get things fully established properly, because even though you have volunteers, you would still have people to pay — the person who would run around dropping this here, dropping that there; secretarial staff, those kind of things. I don’t expect everybody to work for nothing; so all of those things have to be taken into consideration,” explained Brereton.
She said the new centre would most likely involve an existing structure in a serene location that was retrofitted to suit the needs of the Alzheimer’s patients.
“With Alzheimer’s persons, you need to have a sort of a serene atmosphere and electronically gated. One thing is to get a building, but you have to look at the security of the building and so on,” added the professional whose brother and some other family members suffered with Alzheimer’s.
She noted that due to the continuously rising number of sufferers in the island, the association was expected to bump up its 2009 Strategic Plan figure from 10 patients which it initially intended to accommodate in the centre. In fact, Brereton observed that the figure of 3,500 normally used as the Alzheimer’s population in Barbados, related to 2007 data and that since then it would have risen significantly.
“That was the number given to us in our Strategic Plan back in 2009, we might possibly look at more because the numbers are rising; and those numbers that you heard before like 3,500, those numbers were in 2007. This is 2012, so can you imagine what the numbers are outside?
“And I’m not just talking about people in their 80s and 60s and so on. There are a number of people who aged 40 and 45 who are coming down with the disease as well, so you have to look at that end of it too,” insisted the relative of the oldest man in the world.
Brereton noted that there would have to be a lot of training of persons to work at the proposed day care centre, suggesting that she would like to see a centre in all 11 parishes of Barbados.
“One of the things that I am enjoying is to see the number of people that are returning to Barbados who have had experience in dealing with people who have Alzheimer’s, like nurses and so on, and are willing to come on board, to assist in terms of looking after these people. That’s because there’s going be a lot of training that’s going to be involved and we have already started,” the Alzheimer’s she added.
Her view was that the organisation needed to have the right calibre person on board to deal with this type of patient, who tended to walk away from home or institution and lose his or her way.
“You need this calibre of person to make sure that things go in the correct way, because, really and truly they need a place of their own. Placing them in a nursing home, I don’t think is the ideal place, because looking after someone who is old and looking after someone who is old and has Alzheimer’s are so different.
“The Alzheimer’s person needs individual care where you can fix your eyes on them, because they wander away, and that is the worse part,” she asserted.
Brereton explained that several of her family members had Alzheimer’s, including her brother who contracted the disease at age 51 and died at age 61.
“Our centre, will among other things, use the creative arts to help victims lead a better life,” she pointed out. (EJ)