Grocott's Mail

Alzheimer’s clinic to open in May


Alzheimer’s Eastern Cape is launching a diagnostic and management clinic in Grahamstow­n in May 2017.

The team of profession­al volunteers consisting of a medical doctor, clinical psychologi­sts, occupation­al therapist, nursing sister, social worker and life coach will assist the patient and family members/carer with the diagnosis and management of the treatment plan for the Dementia patient.

Clinic attendees will individual­ly see all team members. The clinic will initially operate once a month on the second Thursday of every month from 9am.

Brookshaw Home has very generously agreed to allow the clinic to use a venue at their facility.

People needing this service are asked to call Dr Heather Rauch of Alzheimer’s Eastern Cape on 081 350 8079 or email easterncap­ to book a clinic slot. Booking is essential.

Clinic fees will be a nominal donation or free of charge for state pensioners.

More about Alzheimer's - Q&A with Dr Heather Rauch

How do you know when it's time for someone close to you to seek help for possible Alzheimer's?

The sooner the better- in the early to middle stages, there is medication that one can take to retard the progressio­n of the disease. So, the sooner the patient and family are able to talk about the disease, the better as together they can develop coping skills.

Regarding when to get help, it is when their memory/cognitive impairment is worrying them or their family and hindering their daily activities. It is when a person repeats themselves, loses things, gets lost, isn't able to find words to express themselves, isn't able to remember names, places, or work a calculator, ATM etc. as they used to.

What are the main challenges of Alzheimer's - for patients, and for families/ caregivers?

There care is very demanding, but perhaps the role reversal is the most difficult. The patient is no longer the spouse/mother/ father they were, and you become their parent.

The patient is also often very frustrated in the initial phase, as they are aware that their mind is failing them.

How does a group like this help address those challenges?

The multi-profession­al aspect is hugely helpful: all the discipline­s in one place at the same time who help to confirm the diagnosis and assist with the care plan.

There are many doctors who don’t recognise the disease and, if they do, don't see benefit in trying to assist, because the disease can’t be cured. But it can be managed and the progressio­n retarded. The emotional support, practical help and ongoing management is a great benefit to the patient and family.

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