My most prized possession: A story of care from Nairobi

Yasmin Jeevanjee with her father.

Teacher Yasmin Jeevanjee tells her story as a care partner in Kenya.

I was born and grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. After finishing my secondary education, I went to study abroad. I travelled extensively and eventually settled in London, where I pursued a career in teaching, my expertise being in Early Year’s Education. My parents continued to live in Nairobi, and I would visit them frequently.

On a visit in 2012, I felt that something was not right with my father. He seemed more forgetful than usual and, when he did not recognise an old family friend, alarm bells went off in my mind. In 2013, he was seen by a neurologist and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

My first reaction was one of shock and horror. This couldn’t be happening to my dad. My dad was a highly successful lawyer. It was hard to accept. Indeed, some of my family members were in complete denial.

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Elevator pitch: A short story about the needs and hopes of Africa

Paola Barbarino, CEO, explains why stigma presents a major challenge for addressing dementia in sub-Saharan Africa – and how taking an elevator can lead to greater support.

Paola_headshot

During my recent trip to attend the 4th Sub-Saharan African Regional Conference of ADI in Nairobi, organised in partnership with Alzheimer’s Kenya, I stayed at a local hotel with several African members of ADI. During the conference we had heard and shared experiences about serious issues of stigma and denial surrounding dementia in the region and how difficult it was to persuade the governments to do anything. That said, the Kenyan government committed during the conference to promoting an action plan on dementia by mid-2018, thereby proving that if people get together they can act as a catalyst for good.

The team had just returned to the hotel after a very intense session. On the television in the hotel lobby, the BBC were breaking news of a new study which suggests there is a link between the loss of the sense of smell and possible development of Alzheimer’s disease. We all cheered as any step forward, no matter how small, really makes a difference in our community, forever hopeful for a solution. Continue reading “Elevator pitch: A short story about the needs and hopes of Africa”