In September we mainly focused on our people. Our family. But who takes care of them?
Auguste – our first class manager
A couple of towns in Namibia really went purple in September for Alzheimer’s month.
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!
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!
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.
Today I want to introduce you to Elrine Els and her family.
The first time I met her daughter, Elmarine, she told me that she and her mother was doing shopping when her mother stopped and looked very frightened. She said she smelled something burning. And asked why Elmarine couldn’t not smell it?!
This is what we call an olfactory hallucination.
Now imagine this; you are an elderly with dementia in an old age home. You smell something burning and you are becoming increasing scared. The nurses lock you in your room until they have time for you. They know you cannot come out because you have forgotten how to open the door!
At the end of our research trip (2014 Review – Part 4) we stopped at Okahandja’s Craft market so that Susanne could buy a few souvenirs.
As Susanne ‘shopped’ I told the owner of the stall, Black Jack, who we were and what we did. He immediately said that this sounds like this sounds all too familiar. He called Chief Petrus, who opened these stalls 35 years ago. As we talked to Chief Petrus, I noticed that his right hand made uncontrolled movements and that he licked his lips as he spoke. Unfortunately we could not talk for long as we had to get to Windhoek in time for Susanne’s flight back home.
A few months later I had to meet Michaela Fink from the University in Giessen, in Windhoek. On my return home I stopped in Okahandja and went looking for Black Jack. Having found Black Jack, he introduced me to the Chief’s son, Izak. Izak showed me the Chief’s green card. Here in Namibia a green card is not your ticket to the United States. It is a ‘file’ on which all state hospitals and doctors record prescription medicine etc. Every state patient thus has a green card.
It was no surprise to find that since 2005, Chief Petrus has been on Hadol (Haloperidol). This is the most common drug that the doctors throughout Namibia prescribe to any patient that has the slightest brain dysfunction. To me, this means that Chief Petrus has been chained in chemical chains for nine years! Nine years in which his quality of life has been stolen while people get rich from selling these horrible drugs. Let me explain myself.
Chief Petrus was (and possibly still is) an incredible sculptor. He not only created jobs for thousands by starting the Okahandja Arts & Craft Market, he also sculpted three life size rhinoceroses. One is in Germany, the second at a lodge close to Kimberly (South Africa) and another at Molopo Lodge close to Upington (South Africa).
He was on the brink of receiving a government loan to start-up a massive workshop in Okahandja when a mysterious disease took hold of him. Since then Namibia’s state doctors has been keeping him on a strict diet of Hadol without ever referring him to a specialist. And so this has continued for nine years…
Chief Petrus’s right hand shakes so badly that he can hardly work. He is still the Chief, but his dreams and many that he has helped, was destroyed in 2005 with the first prescription of Hadol and irresponsible practise of medicine. People that are seen as poor and useless, they have no right to proper medical attention.
On the 10th September was another small ‘step’ for women but a huge leap for people living with dementia in Africa when Susanne Spittle from Berlin did a presentation on Dementia in Africa titled: “I lost my mind – am I a witch?’
In this way, Ndjinaa was remembered when delegates from all over the world gathered at the Global Conference of Human Rights and Dementia and watched Susanne’s presentation and photos of Ndjinaa in and out of chains in 2012.
Thank you Susanne! You kept your promise after our two weeks of research in the Zambezi and Kavango last year. You said you would tell the world – and you did! Thank you!
ADN salutes you! May the Ndjinaa’s of Africa rejoice because the ‘night of darkness’ is starting to fade i the Rays of the rising sun of freedom.
On Friday 4th September 2015, Namib Primary School in Swakopmund baked purple cup cakes to raise funds & awareness for Alzheimer’s Dementia Namibia.
Hein’s wife, Anette is a teacher at Namib Primary and decided to use the month of September to educate the grade 6 & 7 students about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Thank you Anette for your valuable input!
Today we remember Hein who has Frontal Temporal Dementia.
This means Hein only hears the first 2/3 words of a sentence and then he hears nothing. So a sentence sounds like this to Hein: “Hein please lay blah blah blah blah…” You get the picture…
Hospitals are very scary places to people with dementia. They don’t understand all the pipes that they they need after an operation and will more often than not, pull the pipes out.
So, for me Berrie, to take Hein to doctor is a big occasion. But Dr Dodd is a very special person. And so I arrived with Hein at the doctor’s rooms. True to his identity, Hein circled the rooms investigating every corner with his sweets and chips close at hand.
Doctor Dodd had to examine Hein while standing. (No sitting for Hein!) It turns out Hein has a hernia. Luckily he only needs treatment and not an operation. So we are sent to Danette, a wonderful orthopedic assistant who treats and helps Hein with a great deal of patience and love.