• Bassma Al Jandaly, Editor In Chief

DHA specialist shares tips on preventing depression during COVID-19 in Alzheimer's patients


DUBAI -- In light of World Alzheimer’s day, the Director of Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA) Seniors’ Happiness Centre stressed the importance of setting a daily routine for all elders, especially those with Alzheimer's, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to prevent depression amongst them.


Dr. Salwa Al Suwaidi, the Director of Seniors’ Happiness Centre said that among the challenges she noticed was that elders with mild cognitive impairment started having early onset of dementia and depression because of the movement and social restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.


"Elders with mild cognitive impairment were getting depressed, I’ve noticed that in some cases they were even having early onset of dementia. This is because they suddenly couldn’t socialise with one another or go out as much. We have daily activities for the elders at the centre to ensure that they remain socially and mentally alert and happy, so when this all stopped because of the coronavirus it really affected them," she said.


Therefore, Dr. Al Suwaidi stressed the importance of setting a daily schedule for all elders who stay home highlighting that this is important for both the caregiver and the elder.


"They should wake up at a certain time, have breakfast at a certain time, go for a walk at a set time, etc. This will ensure that they have a fulfilling purposeful day. Having a daily routine will also benefit the caregiver in dealing with the case. This is the most important piece of advice that I can give caretakers, especially during this period."


The Senior’s Happiness Centre is home to 20 inpatients and more than 300 outpatients.


Dr. Al Suwaidi said that as of today, 2,465 elders visited the centre in 2020 and benefited from its geriatric clinic, physical medicine and rehabilitation clinic, diet clinic & social activities, to name a few.


To further raise awareness among the community about Alzheimer’s and to provide a platform for caregivers to share experiences on how to cope with the disease, Dr. Al Suwaidi said the centre’s Alzheimer’s Support Group, which was launched in 2013 is holding an event on World Alzheimer’s Day, which falls on September 21 of every year. wam

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