at least one 30% of dementia casesincluding Alzheimer’s could be prevented acting on risk factors, according to the Spanish Society of Neurology. This Wednesday, September 21, World Alzheimer’s Day was celebrated to demand more research and raise awareness in society about this disease that affects 7,000 Navarrese, of whom 5,500 have been diagnosed.
The protective measures that can “delay” and, therefore, “prevent” the onset of the disease by staying intellectually active, promoting a good state of mind, maintaining personal contact with friends and family, abandoning alcohol and tobacco consumption exercise, have a healthy weight and follow a proper diet, control diabetes and high blood pressure, correct hearing loss, avoid brain injuries and exposure to environmental pollution.
Keep in mind that Alzheimer’s and its symptoms “they are not part of the normal aging of the brain”, although age is the main risk factor. Memory loss is thought to be normal and this “misconception” only helps the disease to be underdiagnosed.
TALK ABOUT DEATH
The ‘Attention at the end of life‘ was the theme of a round table organized by AFAN in which Camino Oslé participated; Juana Caballín, expert in bioethics; Geno Ochando, head of the Health Citizenship Service, and Mª José Moreno, social worker. The experts insisted on the need to talk about death with family or friends so that they know the way each person thinks. “It is difficult for us to speak because it seems negative to us.”
In this regard, he explained that a 1.9% of Navarrese have made the Advance Directives Document (living will), which includes instructions about treatment and care at the end of life when a person cannot express their wishes. It can be done in health centers, through social workers, or in the Health Registry (C/ Amaya, 2) and there are guidance models (from the Archbishopric, the Regional Government and the Right to Die with Dignity Association) that they can be adapted and modified at any time.
Lately it has been updated to include the possibility of euthanasia in the terms established by the 2021 law (in the face of an irreversible and incurable disease or “insufferable” condition). However, “if it is not indicated in this document and the person is not capable, it cannot be carried out because the law prevents it,” they clarified. A commission of professionals evaluates each request. However, they made it clear that including the possibility of euthanasia does not mean choosing it over palliative care. “It’s one more possibility.”