Dementia in the Caribbean: No time to lose

14 June 2017 - The 4th Regional non-Latin Caribbean Conference on Alzheimer’s and Dementia was hosted by the Alzheimer's Association of Trinidad and Tobago and ADI in Port of Spain from the 8-10 June 2017. The two-day conference entitled ‘Dementia in the Caribbean: No Time to Lose’, held at the Radisson hotel, covered a range of topics, including recent developments in dementia policy on a global level, regionalisation of Alzheimer associations in the non-Latin Caribbean, challenges and opportunities in dementia care. Attendees also heard a first-hand account of what it is like to live with dementia, from the perspective of a care partner.

Dale Goldhawk, Board member of ADI, said: “Alzheimer’s Disease killed my father and led to the death of my mother, his primary, 24-hour-a-day caregiver.  Looking after them both was a labour of love, mixed with the emotional challenges of facing a disease that still has no effective treatment, let alone a cure.”

The conference was attended by the President of Trinidad and Tobago, Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, who offered his support to the Alzheimer’s Association of Trinidad & Tobago, and by the Minister of Health, Terrence Deyalsingh. They promised that they will start collaborating with the association to work on a national dementia plan.

The President and Minister, as well as the participating researchers, all endorsed the steps towards a closer collaboration of the Alzheimer associations in the region, acknowledging that, by working together, they could achieve a much greater impact than individual countries.  It was important that this also included the support of governments and academia.

An Alzheimer University workshop for ADI member associations took place ahead of the conference, with a focus on strengthening Alzheimer associations (with topics such as awareness, media, and fundraising) and increasing collaboration across the regional network. Also covered at the workshop was the response to the adoption of a global plan on dementia by the World Health Organization (WHO) in May 2017and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) Regional Dementia Action Plan adopted in 2015.

Anastasia Psoma, ADI Fundraising and Membership Manager said, “At ADI we are really proud to see Alzheimer associations in the non-Latin Caribbean grow fast despite their small size and scarce resources. Attending the meeting was really helpful in understanding the challenges in the region but also enabled us to provide existing and emerging Alzheimer Associations with some practical tools in their efforts to raise awareness and become a strong leading network of Alzheimer organizations in the Caribbean.”

Read the speech by the President of Trinidad and Tobago

About the Alzheimer’s Association of Trinidad & Tobago

The Alzheimer's Disease Programme started as a project of the President of the Soroptimist International Club of Port of Spain in 1996, Mrs Norma Inniss, with a seminar on ‘Alzheimer's Disease, the Affected Person and the Caregiver’. The vision of the Association is ‘A life of dignity with acceptance, support and security’. The Alzheimer’s Association of Trinidad and Tobago exists to provide support for people with dementia and their care partners and to improve their quality of life through information, education and the promotion of research. For more information please visit http://www.alztrinbago.org/

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