60,000 suffer from Alzheimer’s

IT IS estimated that approximately 60,000 people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease in Portugal. This is the shocking reality for the Portuguese Association of Friends and Family of People with Alzheimer’s (APFADA), which launched the Portuguese edition of the Help for Caregivers book on World Alzheimer’s Day (September 21).

The book aims to support Portuguese people who care for loved ones suffering with the degenerative disease. According to Manuela Morais, translator of the Portuguese edition and founding member of APFADA, the book should answer questions arising from carers when confronted with some of the patient’s problems.

In 1906, Alois Alzheimer first described the disease that would later bear his name. One-hundred years later, patients are still struggling with the stigma attached to dementia and campaigning for better support and treatment.

“Alzheimer’s is a very complicated illness as patients have to deal with very unexpected behaviour patterns,” states Morais. “We hope the book should help those caring for people suffering with the disease have a slightly easier life.”

Throughout 2006, Alzheimer’s Disease International has been co-ordinating an awareness campaign with Alzheimer’s associations around the world. The focal event of the year was the recent Ascent for Alzheimer’s, in which a World Team ascended Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa’s highest mountain, in a symbolic act of international unity against dementia. The team of climbers, which consisted of 10 people from eight different countries around the world, reached the summit of the mountain on World Alzheimer’s Day, raising over 100,000 US dollars. Alzheimer’s Disease International was also pleased to announce that Sir Cliff Richard, whose mother suffers from the disease, has agreed to be the Centenary Patron.

To know more about the work of Alzheimer’s Disease International visit www.alz.co.uk; to contact APFADA, call 213 610 460/8 or visit www.alzheimerportugal.org