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Alzheimer’s disease is the theme of the Purple February campaign — District Policy Portal

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The Purple February campaign raises awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative disease that still has no cure. Data from 2019, from the Brazilian Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology, indicates that dementia affects approximately 2 million people in Brazil, a group of which 40-60% have Alzheimer’s disease. Age is the main risk factor and therefore older people are in the majority.

The disease causes the progressive loss of neurons in certain regions of the brain, which leads, among other symptoms, to difficulties in following conversations, driving a car or requiring the patient to repeat the same question several times.

The figure of the caregiver, who is often a member of the family, is essential for the patient to be able to carry out the acts of daily living. Alzheimer’s disease leads to a situation of dependence. Given this importance, in addition to all the support offered to the patient, such as reception, social assessment and treatment, health professionals also generally work in parallel with caregivers.

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“We have a humanized look to think about the health of this caregiver, because one of the demands that comes is the overload situation. Often the objective of the family reunions that we promote is to rethink the division of this care and to expand the support network”, comments Débora Brasil, social worker at the outpatient geriatrics clinic of the Policlínica de Taguatinga.

“We allow this carer to take care of himself with the regular practice of physical activity, through strategies to prevent problems such as low back pain or joint pain that can prevent the direct care of the person with Alzheimer’s,” says Hudson Pinheiro, a physical therapist who works at the same clinic.

The focus is on strengthening these people physically and mentally, so that they are able to provide better care to the sick family member. If the caregiver is well and in good health, this also reflects on the health of the elderly with Alzheimer’s disease, which Débora Brasil points out. “The quality of care does not only depend on technical information, but above all on the caregiver’s living situation,” concludes the maid.

Service network

In total, SES offers 10 geriatric outpatient clinics, spread across all health regions. In them, patients are treated by an interdisciplinary team that includes, among others, geriatricians, occupational therapists, speech therapists and psychologists.

To have access to outpatient clinics, patients with Alzheimer’s disease must be referred by the Family Health Strategy (ESF) team, still in primary care, via the Regulation Centre.

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