The 21st of September each year marks World Alzheimer’s Day. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, irreversible, fatal brain disorder with as yet, no known cause or cure. Symptoms of the disease include memory loss, confusion, impaired judgement, personality changes, disorientation and loss of language skills. It is the most common form of irreversible dementia.
The simplest way of understanding the disease is to liken it to a butterfly in a cocoon. When a person is an Alzheimer’s sufferer it’s like they are in a cocoon. They seem to withdraw and become another person, even though they are not.
A butterfly is a symbol of hope and in some countries the day is commemorated through an inaugural butterfly release. Thousands of butterflies are released symbolic of Alzheimer’s sufferers being released from their ‘cocoons’.
This year the spotlight falls on the warning signs of dementia. When a member of the family is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the effect on the entire family can be overwhelming. The diagnosis can trigger an array of emotions such as anger, fear, frustration and sadness. Members of the public are therefore encouraged to seek out information, advice and support by contacting their local Alzheimer’s association or related older persons’ organizations such as PADCA.
Research studies show that Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for about 70 percent of all dementias in people age 65 and older. This is clearly visible in both our frail care homes Sunnyside Park Home and Riverside Park Home where, nursing and care staff offer their full dedication and expertise to tirelessly care for residents with dementia.
The signature colour of World Alzheimer’s Day is purple. Supporters commemorate the day by wearing a purple ribbon signifying that they are strong and unrelenting in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Please demonstrate your solidarity by donning a purple ribbon and when you see a butterfly be hopeful that there will be a cure found someday soon.
Written by Nevashni Chetty – Social Work Manager