Alzheimer’s Association Lebanon calls for a dementia national plan

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The Alzheimer’s Association Lebanon called in a regional conference organized on Friday in Beirut, for the elaboration of “a dementia national plan in Lebanon”, insisting on the need to a “multidisciplinary” and “holistic” approach in the care of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

The 3rd Middle East and North Africa Regional Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) was held on Friday at Monroe Hotel, Beirut, in the presence of Mrs. Paola Barbarino, CEO of Alzheimer Disease International (ADI), the worldwide federation of Alzheimer associations which support people with dementia and their families.

Dr. Georges Karam, President  of the association, said that in order to ensure the success of this conference, the association cooperated with  “several societies that work with people affected with dementia”, namely the Lebanese societies of psychiatry, neurology, general practice, geriatric medicine and internal medicine, as well as the Lebanese Association of Palliative Care, the Lebanese Speech and Language Therapist Association,  the Lebanese Occupational Therapists Syndicate, the Lebanese Psychological Association, the Order of Nurses in Lebanon, the Lebanese Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Lebanese Order of Physiotherapists.

He asserted that “a multidisciplinary approach has become mandatory for enhanced treatment and care”, adding that “this conference is intended to be a starting point to provide a holistic approach in the care of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients”.

Dr. Karam announced that “over the past year, ADI undertook the largest attitudes to dementia survey with almost 70,000 people across 155 countries and territories completing the survey”.  According to him, the report “revealed astonishing attitudes towards dementia”, including the following:

According to the survey, almost 80% of the general public are concerned about developing dementia at some point and 1 in 4 people think that there is nothing we can do to prevent dementia

In addition, 35% of carers across the world said that they have hidden the diagnosis of dementia of a family member. Over 50% of carers globally say their health has suffered as a result of their caring responsibilities even whilst expressing positive sentiments about their role.

The report noted that almost 62% of healthcare providers worldwide think that dementia is part of normal ageing. Furthermore, 40% of the general public think doctors and nurses ignore people with dementia.

“These findings need to stimulate action”, Karam said, stressing on “the need to have a dementia national plan in Lebanon”.

After the opening, the sessions tackled many issues related to Alzheimer’s and Dementia, including ethical, nutritional, behavioral and psychological ones. Other sessions discussed Imaging and the Role of PET and MRI, the Danger of Polypharmacy in Alzheimer’s, Prevention of Decline through Day Care Programs, the Impact of Physical Activity in Preventing Cognitive Decline, Palliative Care in Dementia Care and the Role of Ergotherapy, among other issues.

A Round Table discussion was held at the end of the conference, where representatives of the ministries of Public Health, Social Affairs and Justice, of Alzheimer’s Association Lebanon and of ADI, debated the services available in Lebanon, the legal rights, and the need to have a dementia national plan in Lebanon. The outcomes of this round table will be announced at later stage.

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