The Full Story
In 1996 an inspired group of people formed a Steering Committee for the establishment of a national association dedicated to increasing awareness of Alzheimer’s disease in Barbados. These thirty-four (34) early Alzheimer’s champions helped to the build the foundations on which the Barbados Alzheimer's Association now stands. Membership waned in 2005 to only twelve (12) members but is now around 100 strong – and getting stronger.
Dr. Ermine Belle (current Vice President and one of the early Alzheimer's Champions) made her personal office available for a number of years before the Association in April 2006, acquired a humble office in Bethesda building, Black Rock Main Road. This acquisition enabled the Association to establish a visible presence in Barbados and provided a place from where it could offer information and support to both the Dementia sufferer and caregiver.
There have been a number of major achievements. November 2002 marked the registration of Barbados Alzheimer's Association Inc. as a company in Barbados (#21851). This led in September 2005, to provisional membership of Alzheimer’s disease International (ADI). This is the umbrella organization for all associations around the world, and the catalyst behind major awareness drives such as World Alzheimer’s Month, World Alzheimer’s Day, and publications like the World Alzheimer’s Report. In October 2007 the Association became a full member of ADI and in November the now Barbados Alzheimer's Association (BAA) became a registered Charity in Barbados (#719).
The Barbados Alzheimer's Association is dedicated to increasing knowledge and awareness of Alzheimer’s disease in Barbados and joins all associations around the world adding impact in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. The Honourable Dame Patricia Symmonds graciously agreed to support the organization by becoming its Patron in 2007. Dame Patricia, a well-known educator and then Senator, empathised with those affected by the disease. In conjunction with Dame Patricia the Barbados Alzheimer's Association has continued to agitate to move the disease higher up the list of priorities governmentally and domestically.
Over the years representatives of the Association have participated in training programmes offered by and through the Alzheimer’s University. Of particular note was “Emerging Associations” held in London in 2006 and “Campaigning for Change” held in the USA in 2010. Exposure to these training opportunities has been invaluable to the BAA’s ability to develop and to raise awareness while aiming also to remove the stigma associated with the disease. The BAA holds a number of activities throughout the year and in particular in the month of September (World Alzheimer’s Month). This includes a health fair – giving all an opportunity to find out more about the disease in a relaxed and fun atmosphere - as well as lectures and a free seminar headed by international experts.
The Barbados Alzheimer's Association yearly adds value and informs the public through panel discussions, workshops, seminars, fund raising events, speaking engagements and various newspaper articles and television interviews. A major objective of the Association continues to be the establishment of a daycare facility dedicated to those with Alzheimer’s Disease, and in 2012 the BAA came a step closer to achieving this goal in partnership with the Central Bank of Barbados and the Rotary Club with the ‘ONE CENT Drive’. To date over $100,000 has been raised through this initiative.
The Barbados Alzheimer's Association was established to improve knowledge and raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and the timeline of select items and events shows some ways that inroads have been made in achieving this goal. Staying relevant and widening its reach, in January 2012 the BAA established a presence on social media site Facebook, and in September 2014 – its magnificent seventh year since launching as a charity - this website was launched. Two key ways of spreading the word and influencing change beyond the borders of Barbados.
As past achievements feed future progress - support us, actively use our website and look out for more from the Barbados Alzheimer's Association!