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Child makes plea for Alzheimer's support

President of the Alzheimer’s Association of Barbados Pamelia Brereton

A child, whose grandmother stopped looking after her due to Alzheimer’s disease, is pleading with Barbadians to contribute generously to a one-cent drive launched this morning to raise $50,000 to assist sufferers across the country.

Speaking to an audience at the Central Bank of Barbados this morning that included the Deputy Governor, Cleviston Haynes, the Sales Manager for the Americas and the Caribbean, Royal Canadian Mint, Michael Saunders, and representatives of the Alzheimer’s Association and Rotary clubs, Ashley Lythcott admitted that her grandmother had to stop taking caring of her because of memory loss.

“My mother had to get someone to stay with her during the day as she always needs supervision. My granny looked after me as a baby and now she’s unable to continue looking after me,” an impassioned little Lythcott said.

The school girl was of the view that the country needed to do something for these sufferers, because, as she put it, staying locked up in a house all day was not going to help them.

She suggested that activity centres across the island were needed for these people like her grandmother, “because just placing them in nursing homes doesn’t help their brains”.

“Programmes or activities are needed to keep their brains active,” she said, prompting spontaneous applause. “Alzheimer’s is a very cruel disease which affects your short term memory. People with Alzheimer’s disease often remember things from years ago and not like five minutes ago. My granny has Alzheimer’s. She was a seamstress, but had to stop because of her memory loss.”.

She noted that the disease also affected the care givers, as they had the stress of looking after these individuals, “while the sufferers are happy in their own world”.

“Having seen the toll of this disease on my granny as well as on my mum and other care givers, I appeal to all Barbadians to please donate generously to this effort to provide a day care for Alzheimer’s patients, like granny,” Lythcott declared.

“Let us together make sense out of cents for them.”

The child then made a contribution on behalf of her family.

Also making donations were the staff of the Central Bank of Barbados, who had accumulated $1,000 in cash from coins, Deputy Governor Cleviston Haynes, Sonya Alleyne for Rotary Club of Barbados South, Mark Thompson on behalf of Rotary Club of Barbados West, President of the Alzheimer’s Association, Pamelia Brereton, Project Manager of the One-Cent Coin Drive, Janett Carter and Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at the Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Ermine Belle, who deals with many Alzheimer’s patients in her daily practice.

Haynes has pledged to partner with the association in its efforts at establishing a day care centre. The collection points for the one-cent coins include supermarkets, gas stations, Scotiabank branches, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Small Business Association. The CIBC FirstCaribbean has also consented to the use of its machine for the counting of the cents. September is to be celebrated as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and the 21s has been designated as a National Collection Day. The Chamber, the Small Business Association and the Barbados Employers Confederation will also participate on that special day. (EJ)

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