Alzheimers & Dementia Care In Jamaica
Photo Credit: Jamaica Gleaner
This really great, and opportune, question about Dementia Care In Jamaica came in from Grace, one of my most ardent and most engaged supporter on the website.
It is one of those topics that we sometimes leave 'until later', but not this time, I got some helpful information and responded (below)
But first, here is her question/ concern...
Hello Wellesley,ANSWER: by Wellesley
I'm planning to come to Jamaica early next year with my Dad who has Dementia. It will probably be the last trip for him as he has mid stage dementia. We want to stay in Kingston as we will be travelling everyday to a community in St Catherine where my Dad is from.
Please can you tell me what facilities Jamaica has for people with dementia and just give me an overall feel of how people know about/ understand Dementia.
In the UK in the last 5 years there has been a big drive for awareness, understanding and sympathy for people with it. In times past people use to make jokes and dismiss people who had it as 'that silly old man',but thankfully that has changed.
Thanks for asking my friend!
We tend to talk about all 'other' things and issues like this are often overlooked.
As it is today, I am not aware of any governmental agency or institution that has specific responsibility
to manage and support dementia in Jamaica, which would include illnesses like Alzheimer's.
Yes, there are relatable agencies and support groups, including National Council for Senior Citizens, Community Of Retired Person (CCRP), etc, that does provide some sort of support but, in my opinion, not specific to the needs of persons who require focused dementia care.
There is however a growing advocacy here - perhaps similar to what you observed in the UK.
One of the bodies, an totally volunteer, non-governmental group (NGO) that is Alzheimer's Jamaica
And since receipt of your email, I actually reached out to Ms Sandra Lattibeaudiere, a Lecturer at University of West Indies, but one of the key coordinators of the organization, and she give me a healthy run down of their work - quite impressive!
She got involved through her friend and founder, Dundeen Ferguson, whose mother has Alzheimer's.
They are in the news, in the papers, on the internet and social media - busy providing information, advocacy and support for persons living with dementia in Jamaica.
In fact, later this year, they are having a big conference at the Jamaica conference center in Kingston with the theme: Understanding and Preventing Dementia
, the flyer is below.
Among their other support services are:
- Partnering with social institutions to build their capacity, eg. churches, social clubs, schools.
- Hosting meetings and regular meetups.
- Refer persons to qualified medical practitioners and also
- Setting up support groups in parishes.
They are currently in St. Mary and is about to launch in St. Ann.
I asked her why St. Mary, and ironically, her response was because it has a large population of person with that illnesses who are returning residents!
So to answer your question my friend, yes, there is some hope and I am buoyed by the work of Alzheimer's Jamaica.
For more information on their work, contact Ms Lattibeaudiere at:
email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or
I hope this helps!
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About The Author
A patriotic Jamaican who adore its culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' since April 2007.
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