Comfort a unmet need


Many moons ago , when Christmas trees where tall and our two daughters where small,

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Sufrani and Elsabe with me and my wife

we as family travelled a lot , and every time when we travelled through the country side and Sufrani and Elsabe noticed big animals with their ‘children’ They always said:

There is the mother ( s) and their children! For me it was very annoying , because It was a proof that I as father and fathers in general was absent fathers in their little minds.

Being with people living with dementia, for a great part of my life the last year or more ,corroborated their statement day by day!

Why? You maybe asked me:

Because in many different ways , we as care givers , very often hear our ‘dementia family’ speak about, or asked for, or cry for their mothers when they are in need for comfort, feels alone or are afraid, or any other unmet need their long term memory reminds them of their mothers, who might be the one who can help

They are calling out for their mothers, hallucinating about their mothers and even act like one another’s mother!

I like to share with you one of the most beautiful ‘mother child comforting’ acts that happened this week at our Dementia care home !

Look at the picture and try to celebrate the beauty of humanity with us, despite dementia! You can, if you do understand that this is a single bed and the ‘child’ in this case is Tannie Sophia who is blind but found her way at night to the bed of her ‘mother’ Tannie Joey!

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Joyi [left] and Sophia [ right]



a Remberance Tree. Linda’s fig tree , where we can go and sit in the shade and enjoy the fruits while remembering her as one of our family memebers, who has joined us in 2010.

She laughed a lot, live dancing and got angry with herself when she struggled to express herself with words that dementia stole from her memory.

she also taught us that music is and will always be part of us, humans but music can also be very annoying and I hope my wife and family will remember that ‘boeremusiek’ is one of the genre in music that annoys me extremely, just as much as some ‘ common’ afrikaans music annoyed Linda and made her aggressive because she couldn’t explain it to us with words but was capable to do it through her body language.

we miss you very much Linda! And thank you very much for the Fig tree, Leon, Janette , Johan, Jana and Lynette.



Dementia or Witchcraft?

3 murders in 8 months in 2015 in the Kavango. 

2 of them , both in their 80’s, killed by their grandsons because they were so called wizards and bewitched them.
The third one ( 74) was killed by his neighbor because he bewitched the community according to the accused. I interviewed the community and according to them he had strange behaviors which are related to signs and symptoms of Dementia
The police at both police stations at Mushe and Divundu confirmed to me that murders like these are quite common in the Kavango
The last week or more I am daily troubled by what I have seen and heard and two questions in my mind is keeping me awake at nights:
Can signs and symptoms of dementia be the proof for families that some one among them is a witch/wizard and need to be killed when bad things happens with a family? 
Might it be that people in some communities are victims of one of the most dreadful diseases ( dementia) and simultaneously be a victim of mid evil superstition that still exist in Africa in the 21st century? 
Berrie Holtzhausen


When she saw me the first time , standing next to her bed, she suddenly got frightened and shouted for help…she called me ‘Master ‘and was really very very scared! I left the room and just hope she will calm down and sleep well!

After I left she calm down and when I phoned this morning Auguste told me that she had a good nights rest.

I phoned her daughter today and asked her about her mother’s life history. I said to her: I think your mother is scared of me ,because I am white! What she told me saddened me immensely.

My mother was as a young women a domestic worker in the Namakwaland. Her white masters sometimes took her with them on holiday to look after their children…she was transported , locked up in the boot of the car, to their holiday place. Sometimes never paid her and let her go hungry to bed!

Today she kept on calling me master in a way that saddens me very much! Once when she turned her face to the wall I softly touches her on her arm and said: I love you very much Auntie Marie!

Than she replied: Dankie oupa ( thank you grandfather)! She could hear me but didn’t see me.

I never will be able to replace the reality of apartheid she is living in , because it is and will always be her reality , but I hope I can help her to create ‘ good feelings ‘ about seeing a white man as some one who really care for her!


Namibian Towns going Purple

A couple of towns in Namibia really went purple in September for Alzheimer’s month.

The first one we’ll look at is: Grootfontein in the north of Namibia.

On the 12th September, Grootfontein had its yearly festival and even here they went purple with a Remember Me float!


On the 21st September the Purple Fig Bistro in Grootfontein did their part by selling gorgeous purple cupcakes!


Medi Health Practise of Doctor’s Malan & Botha in Grootfontein also took part in the 2015 Alzheimer’s Day.IMG-20151002-WA0008

The Ladies from the Ester Group in Grootfontein spreading the good news!

Well done Grootfontein! If you live in a Namibian town that went purple, let us know!

Remember Me: Linda White

IMG-20150922-WA0008Linda (far right), her daughter Jana and her sister in law, Janette at the ADN Care Farm

Linda has Dementia with Lewy Body. This is a dementia that is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s Disease as they share a lot of similar symptoms.

Linda absolutely loves visitors and to touch them. She used to whistle quite often and even now you can see she still tries to do so.