Opinion: Dementia patients

POSTED: 07/21/15 7:04 PM

Dear Editor,

I would like to commend Mr. Jessurun for his efforts in putting St. Maarten elderly on the international stage. His article relates to his participation at the, open ended working group (OEWG) on ageing conference in New York. Mr. Jessurun must also be complemented on his detailed reporting with regards to his visit, regretfully that does not often happen on St. Maarten.

Sadly however I must conclude that he pictures St. Maarten as doing nothing with respect to the dementia patients and again portrays the sad story of patients needing to be flown abroad.

Mr. Jessurun did approach the Mental Health Foundation with regards to what the foundation could do for the elderly and this was explained to him. He surely must also be aware of the efforts that are being made by the White and Yellow Cross foundation with regards to this care. WYC and MHF work together in providing adequate care to all patients and clients with mental problems including dementia patients.

That the present care may need additional attention can be agreed on, but that it does not exist and that no efforts are being made is not true.

With regards to his mentioning of, how great the care is in the Netherlands I would like to suggest he studies, what the consequences of the present health care cuts in the Netherlands means, specifically to the elderly.

My point is; why don’t we work together with the existing organizations to improve the care for the elderly locally. Any professional with knowledge of dementia can tell you that moving a dementia patient from one place to another does not enhance the situation that person is in. The best place for elderly is at home with familiar faces and their own replicas of the past around them.

Together we can conduct studies on how feasible it is to establish a separate center only for dementia as suggested, based on 45,000 inhabitants. We will certainly end up in the same situation as the so praised Dutch for having to cut back on what they presently have.

I must agree with Mr. Jessurun’s cry for upgrading of legislation and supporting the rights of patients on St. Maarten. In countries closer to us than you can imagine, health care organizations have formed alliances and proposed legislation to their government that are gladly adopted by them.


Eileen Healy,

We Care on St. Maarten

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