Queen Sofía, the mother of King Felipe VI, expressed support for those suffering from Alzheimer's and their families, as she officially opened the VII National Alzheimer's Conference in Malaga recently. She said relatives who care forAlzheimer's sufferers need support and should be entitled to respite care from time to time.
Also present at the conference were the president of the Junta de Andalucía, Susana Díaz; the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre; the Secretary of State for Social Services and Equality, Mario Garcés, and Cheles Cantabrana, the president of the Spanish Alzheimer's Confederation (CEAFA), which organised the event.
Susana Díaz stressed that it is important for Alzheimer's sufferers to benefit from integral treatment. About 100,000 people in Andalucía are affected by this illness. “The earlier it is detected, the easier it is to help people learn how to live with it and to assist their families in understanding what is going to happen and help them to deal with it,” she said.
The mayor of Malaga said that Alzheimer's is challenging for everybody, and that more progress is needed in research and in the way these families are looked after and assisted. He stressed that caring for Alzheimer's patients is difficult and it is work that needs to be shared. He also said he agreed how important it is for patients to be diagnosed early.
Mario Garcés, the Secretary of State for Social Services and Equality, said more needs to be done for patients and their carers, and he explained that the National Alzheimer's Plan will be officially presented in the next few weeks. “We have the responsibility of remembering on behalf of those who no longer remember, and caring for those who care for them,” he stressed.
Cheles Cantabrana, the president of CEAFA, called for patients not to be marginalised or stigmatised and said that, when they are in the early stages of this illness, they should be given the chance to make their own decisions about the future. “We need to fight the lack of understanding about Alzheimer's,” she insisted.