Alzheimer’s Symposium focuses on awareness

ALZHEIMER’S SYMPOSIUM – The first Alzheimer’s Symposium hosted by Ocean View Retirement Village President, Agatha Thompson, was packed to capacity and dubbed a success, as speakers shared valuable information about the disease with those in attendance. (PHOTOS: TFN)

‘Winning against Alzheimer’s’ was the theme for Ocean View Retirement Village’s first Alzheimer’s Symposium, where a number of local professionals shared pertinent views on the disease and what caregivers and loved one should know, if someone they have charge of is diagnosed with the progressive disease.

Retired physician Dr. Pamela Etuk, who assisted with organizing the event noted that Alzheimer’s is a form of Dementia and is, indeed, a progressive illness.

Having served in the capacity of medical physician for 50 years, Etuk now spends her time serving within the community, encouraging, assisting and giving care.

“I was asked by Mrs. Agatha Thompson, who is the owner of Ocean View (Retirement Village), to help organize this symposium on Alzheimer’s. 

“Of course, Alzheimer’s is a form of Dementia, which we see in our society and worldwide. (As) it is the fourth leading cause of death, we need to make our population aware of it because each of us has a person in our family who is suffering, either from Alzheimer’s or Dementia. We want these people, the majority being older people, to age with grace, care and compassion. 

“The seminar is not just for those who are my age and perhaps trending towards this disease, but for the younger people to know how to cope and how to understand. Knowledge is power and the more that we can help them understand, the better we are able to treat persons as they age because they have given us so much,” said Dr. Etuk. 

“An important aspect are the caregivers and here in our society 85 percent of the caregivers are either family members or friends; non-paid persons. There are institutions, like Ocean View and we would encourage you to come and see Ocean View as a place that you might want to put your mom or dad, if you are not able to handle the problem at home. However, we need to, as individuals, know what it is to be a caregiver and how to relieve some of the stress; that is inherent,” she added.

Dr. Etuk was questioned on some of the warning signs and symptoms one should look for if they suspect a family member of loved one of having the disease. 

“The broad diagnosis with Alzheimer’s is first of all loss of cognitive function, which means that you are unable to relate to everyday activities; loss of memory. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease; it is simply a form of the Dementia. With Alzheimer’s we then find people becoming disoriented in terms of their social habits, not taking care of themselves, and being aggressive. 

“It affects their limitations, their ability to think, their ability to perform, it robs people of their dignity. Remember, it is a disease not something that we cure, but it is something progressive. We have to research, find causes and question, is it hereditary? Is this something that the environment is causing? Is it something that we are eating, that is worsening it? These are all things that we are looking at,” she said.

According to Constance McDonald, Attorney-at-law, who served as one of the speakers, having an enduring power of attorney is very important for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. 

“The enduring power of attorney is a legally recognized document, in which you state that you wish to appoint another person to act as your agent or representative in the case of illness or disability. Note, you have to be compos mentis (having full control of one’s mind) in order to sign such a power of attorney, that is why it is important o keep check of the elderly and advise them as to what they should or should not do,” McDonald advised.

Vice President of Ocean View Retirement Village Destini Celesta Thompson-Pinder welcomed attendees noting, “It is with profound pleasure that I warmly welcome each of you to Ocean View’s first Alzheimer’s Symposium. My mother, Mrs. Agatha Maria Thompson, heroine of decades, has taken up the mantle, locally, to recruit partners to rescue the affected that may one day be us. 

“We are globally fighting for a cure and to make all who are impacted more comfortable, educated and enriched at the very least. Scripture elucidates, ‘For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you Hope and a Future.’

“We are here to collectively and competently illuminate and create better days ahead for all generations to advance towards. Let death find you elevating yourself and your loved ones to the highest levels of life,” Thompson-Pinder shared. 

The remaining speakers included Dr. Kevin Bethel, Physician, Family Wellness; Dr. Daphne Adderley-Sands, Clinical Psychiatrist; Michelle Virgill-Lundy, Clinical Psychologist and Paul Bethel, Registered Holistic Nutritionist.

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