Screening, diagnosis, support: Pierre Déméné, president of the Association France Alzheimer Nouvelle Calédonie, guest of the morning

September 21 marks, as every year, World Alzheimer’s Day. A progressive pathology characterized by progressive degeneration of brain cells. Pierre Déméné, president of the Association France Alzheimer Nouvelle-Calédonie, was the guest of the morning show on Wednesday 21 September.

Memory loss, changes in mood or behavior, impaired judgment and reasoning, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease. Irreversible and progressive, it affects the brain by progressively destroying neurons. In New Caledonia, in the absence of a quantified study, it is difficult to know precisely how many people are known to have this disease. “Only declarations to the Cafat can be an indication, but there is a kind of taboo and denial with us. Unfortunately, screening is not systematic.indicates Pierre Déméné.

And yet, for several years, sometimes up to around 10 to 15 years, the disease sets in slyly without any apparent signs, until the moment when the brain is no longer able to compensate for the loss of neurons. “This is where the first troubles manifest and where the first appear. It’s sort of an a la carte disease. And then the signs are not the same depending on the progress of the pathology”. If the so-called memory loss “immediate” is a first alert and must lead to screening, it also leads to a loss of autonomy, “with the risk of endangering oneself and others”. The disease normally affects older people, but it can also affect younger people.

To date, Alzheimer’s disease is incurable, but treatments and support methods can slow its progression. “You must first recognize that you are sick in order to then better adapt to the changes that this implies”. The CHS Albert Bousquet is involved in screening, diagnosis, but also the treatment protocol for the disease. Health professionals also inform and advise patients and their families and can, in certain cases, accommodate them for short stays.

Many studies have also shown that caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease has significant repercussions on those around them, “It takes time and energy. You have to be well supported to be able to help a loved one”. The France Alzheimer Nouvelle-Calédonie association offers hotlines with a psychologist, “to help the patient and his family in the management of daily life and the organization of the home. The psychologist really has an important role for caregivers”. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 30% of carers of Alzheimer’s patients develop serious health problems and exhaustion.

An interview can be found here.

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