Today marks World Alzheimer’s Day, which is commemorated annually on 21 September.
Organisations the world over focus their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia.
In continued efforts to raise awareness on Alzheimer’s, the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, will today commemorate World Alzheimer’s Day in Cacadu, Eastern Cape province.
The commemoration seeks to raise awareness about the disease and its impact on the lives and wellbeing of families, especially older persons, who are often killed by their fellow community members due to a lack of understanding about the disease.
Viewed as the most common cause of dementia, Alzheimer’s is a physical disease which directly affects the brain, leading to the eventual death of nerve cells and loss of brain tissue.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines dementia as a chronic illness that arises from an interplay of genetic, environmental and behavioural factors, with severe adverse influences on social and physical activities and quality of life. Dementia is deemed to be one of the major causes of disability among older persons.
The Department of Social Development says the Eastern Cape has seen an increase in the number of older persons who were brutally killed after being accused of witchcraft.
“Recent community dialogues, held in the areas of Cacadu and Cofimvaba, revealed that older persons with Alzheimer’s from around Chris Hani District have resorted to abandoning the villages, some sleep in groups so they may feel safe and protected,” the department said. –SAnews.gov.za