The Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SHOAS) Bridge was lit up purple on Wednesday night to mark World Alzheimer’s Month, celebrated every September.
Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar in his message in conjunction with World Alzheimer’s Month highlighted that dementia is a type of disease which affects the cognitive function of the brain impacting memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. Dementia is also the main cause of different abilities and dependency among the elderly.
“There are different types of dementia whereby Alzheimer’s disease is the most common, contributing to 60 to 70 per cent of dementia cases. Due to the high rate of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the Sultanate, vascular dementia is also commonly found among the elderly,” he added.
Dementia, he said, “is not a result of the normal ageing process – it is a disease that affects memory, thinking, behaviour and the individual’s emotions. The symptoms of dementia include loss of memory and thought, difficulties finding the right words to say or understand what was being said, difficulties in performing daily tasks or changes in personality and emotions. People affected will not be able to take care of themselves and need assistance in all aspects of their life”.
“Dementia has physical, psychological, social and economic impacts not only to individuals with dementia but also the carer, family as well as the community as a whole. There is often a lack of awareness and understanding of dementia, resulting in stigma and barriers to diagnosis and care,” the minister said.
He shared that every September, World Alzheimer’s Month is remembered and Brunei is no exception. The theme for this year’s World Alzheimer’s Month is similar with last year’s of ‘Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s’. The theme aimed to raise public knowledge especially on warning signs of dementia and the importance of accurate diagnosis because knowing the warning signs can empower the public to be more prepared to manage or care for someone with dementia.