Pretoria, 21 September 2023: Social Development joins the global celebration of World Alzheimer’s Day, with the theme this year: “Ending Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and Putting Policy and Law in Place”.
Through the Department of Social Development, people with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their families are being supported, cared for, and served across the country in a meaningful way.
It is World Alzheimer’s Day on September 2, a day dedicated to increasing awareness and challenging the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It emphasizes the crucial role that identifying risk factors and taking proactive measures to reduce risks can play in delaying, or even preventing, dementia development.
In September, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) hosts World Alzheimer’s Day, an event that is held every year on the 21st of September.
On this day, the public is educated, caregivers are supported, and Alzheimer’s is advocated for better treatment and understanding. As a result, the disease can be detected early, research can be encouraged, and stigma can be reduced.
In addition, by raising awareness of cultural, social, economic, and demographic factors affecting older people, communities can better understand the diseases.
The day is dedicated to raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and Dementia among governments, organizations, and key stakeholders around the world.
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Known as the most common cause of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease causes nerve cells to die and brain tissue to be lost. 68 people develop Alzheimer’s disease every 68 seconds, which is significant to note.
As a result of the chronic stress associated with watching a loved one slowly decline, Alzheimer’s disease is often referred to as a family disease. Our families now need more support than ever for Alzheimer’s research due to the increase in life expectancy.
On the other hand, dementia can be caused by a number of diseases (such as Alzheimer’s), but it is not an independent disease. In addition to Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, there are over 100 types of dementia, all of which are progressive (they get worse over time).
The term dementia refers to a group of symptoms affecting the brain, such as:
- Memory Loss
- Changes in personality and mood
- Problem-solving, thinking, and speaking difficulties
The number of people with dementia worldwide was estimated at 44.4 million in 2013. In 2030, this number is expected to rise to 75,6 million, and in 2050, it will increase to 135.5 million. Currently, 62% of people with dementia live in developing countries, but this number is expected to increase to 71% by 2050.
Dementia affects approximately 2.2 million South Africans, according to the 2011 census.
It is becoming increasingly common for older persons in a few provinces, and in some parts of the country, to be targeted, burned, and killed and forced to leave their communities because they are accused of witchcraft, a stigma associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
With respect to this, the Department of Social Development works with provinces, government departments, non-profit organizations, civil society organizations, the South African Older Persons Forum, network structures and organizations of older persons, the National House of Traditional Leaders, and other key stakeholders to address the plight of people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, a concern for DSD and all its key stakeholders.
As we move forward, the department appeals to communities to protect and care for older people.
ASSIGNED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
For media inquiries, please contact Ms Lumka Oliphant at 083 484 8067 or [email protected].