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Alzheimer’s Association partners with Unite BVI to host ‘Dementia Friends’ this month

A section of the main island of Tortola.

The Virgin Islands Alzheimer’s Association (VIAA) has partnered with Unite BVI to host a global initiative entitled ‘Dementia Friends’ for the month of March.

A media release from the VIAA said the initiative which derived from the Alzheimer’s Society of the United Kingdom, will be hosting a number of one-hour free sessions from March 9 to 20.

VIAA Founder and training coordinator Edna Williams said her association is now an official member of the Global Dementia Friends Network and explained the rationale behind the initiative.

“A Dementia Friend is somebody that learns about dementia so they can help their community. Too many people affected by dementia feel that society fails to understand the condition they live with. Dementia Friends help by raising awareness and understanding so that people living with dementia can continue to live in the way they want,” Williams said.

“The association aims to engage 100 to 150 persons across all sectors of the community and will also be training Champions to continue this project,” She added.

Residents encouraged to show support

Williams also encouraged residents to actively participate in the many programmes being offered by VIAA, as it will have a positive impact in successfully bringing to light the growing challenges faced by some elderly persons.

“The VIAA is working towards creating a dementia-friendly community. We do this through advocacy for policy in this area, plans to support care, and education to increase awareness to bring about behaviour change,” she stated.

Government Agencies and NGO’s to be targeted

The sessions will be conducted by Nurse Katy Judd and will be targeting various government, non-governmental organisations and members of the community who interact with elderly persons.

According to the aforementioned release, these organisations will include “banks, supermarkets, police, first respondents, major retail establishments, entities such as BVI Electricity Corporation, Immigration Department, health care providers and caregivers”.

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