In recognition of World Alzheimer’s Month, Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Geriatric and Long-Term Care team have arranged for a dozen different activities to promote staff and public awareness and education on Alzheimer’s disease, one of the most common forms of dementia in the world. Additional activities have been arranged throughout the month in collaboration with the Oman Alzheimer’s Association and the Center for Empowerment and Care of the Elderly (EHSAN).
Dr. Hanadi Al-Hamad, Medical Director of Rumailah Hospital and Qatar Rehabilitation Institute, and the National Lead for Healthy Ageing in Qatar said that there has been a huge transformation in dementia perception and care over the last decade. More services are planned to augment those that have already been established in the last year or two, including the highly praised RAHA Alzheimer’s and Memory Services Helpline and the Elderly Urgent Care Unit located in Rumailah Hospital.
“As the Focal Point for Elderly in Qatar I want to ensure that the services we provide to our older population are effective and efficient, with a strong emphasis of patient centered care. The older adult group already includes more vulnerable patients who often have multiple health conditions and life challenges. However, patients living with dementia face even more unique challenges that require specialised care and understanding.”
“This year’s World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month theme is #KnowDementia - #KnowAlzheimers and we have taken this to heart in our continuing efforts to ensure more professional development training for healthcare professionals across HMC and Primary Healthcare Corporation. We also engage with key partners, such as members of the police force and Civil Defence to help them be better able to deal with people displaying Alzheimer’s symptoms, such as confusion, disorientation or agitation,” added Dr Al-Hamad. “Many of the activities are held online to comply with infection control restrictions. Our upcoming Qatar International Geriatric and Gerontology Virtual Conference provides another valuable forum for discussion and learning on geriatrics and gerontology, including Dementia.”
Dr. Al-Hamad explained how the development of the National Dementia Plan 2018-2022 and the inclusion of Healthy Ageing as a key pillar of the National Health Strategy (2018 – 2022) represented key milestones in Qatar’s acknowledgement of the need to promote awareness on both topics. “The National Dementia Plan sets out a roadmap for seven key work areas that are aligned with the WHO Work Areas of the World Observatory of Dementia. We have accomplished a lot across these areas but our commitment remains to do much more for our older population, and for those living with Dementia.”
“However, a key factor throughout this month is to encourage the population in Qatar to be more aware of the importance of a healthier lifestyle and how this can impact on healthy ageing and the quality of life they lead as they grow older. To this end, the Healthy Ageing website [ www.hamad.qa/healthyageing ] was established in 2020 as a local source for information relating to health advice and healthcare services in the country,” added Dr. Al-Hamad.
Dementia can affect anyone and while genetics may play a role in the likelihood of getting one form of Dementia over another, increasing evidence has shown that modifiable risk factors can reduce the risk of developing dementia in later life, especially if addressed in mid-life. Some of the main modifiable risk factors are impacted by lifestyle, such as physical inactivity, low cognitive activity, mid-life obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Eliminating most of these risk factors can potentially reduce dementia cases by 40%.
While the risk of Dementia does increase with age, age is not a direct cause of Alzheimer's disease. Every person dealing with Dementia will have their own unique experiences, but the most common experiences include:
There is no cure for dementia presently and symptoms are likely to worsen over time, however, early diagnosis and professional intervention can help the person living with Dementia and their family or carers cope much better with the progression of the condition.
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