The New Taipei City Department of Health yesterday marked World Alzheimer’s Day by announcing that it would publish a manual for caregivers on how to work with people who have Alzheimer’s disease.
The manual is scheduled to be released next month, it said.
A man, surnamed Lu (盧), said his mother, who is in her 80s, had always been able to maintain her home and care for herself until about a year ago, when she began to forget where she put things and how to cook.
Lu said his mother has been diagnosed with mild Alzheimer’s.
“Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal condition of aging, but pathological changes in the brain,” department Director Lin Chi-hung (林奇宏) said.
“A person with the disease begins to become forgetful in the initial stages, which can progress to restlessness, getting lost and then full disability, which can take from eight to 10 years, or even as long as 15 years,” Lin said.
WHO statistics show that on average, one person worldwide is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s every four seconds, and taking care of people with Alzheimer’s can be a burden on family members, he said.
Excluding medical costs and government subsidies, it costs about NT$300,000 (US$9,545) per year to care for an Alzheimer’s patient, and it costs about NT$9 billion per year to take care of the 30,000 or so people with the disease in New Taipei City, Lin said.
The bureau plans to initiate a community assistance program that would provide resources for people taking care of Alzheimer’s patients in their own homes, and promote public awareness of the disease, Lin said.
Mental Health and Long-term Care Management Division head Tu Chung-chieh (杜仲傑) said the manual was aimed at helping caregivers understand the disease, its progression and basic care principles.
The manual is to be distributed free of charge at 14 hospitals that have Alzheimer’s disease outpatient clinics, Tu said.
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