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Relatives of Alzheimer’s patients take to the streets to demand the construction of the day center in Benalmádena

“The tango used to say that twenty years are nothing, but when it comes to Alzheimer’s, a year is an eternity… Needless to say, ten; which are the ones we have been waiting for to have a comprehensive Alzheimer’s care center in Benalmádena ”. With these words began the manifesto read by the Association of Relatives of Patients with Alzheimer’s and other Dementias of Benalmádena (AFAB), which has been manifested this morning in front of the House of Culture, surrounded by a multitude of neighbors and members of political parties, to demand that the public administrations join together to be able to start the construction of their day center in the town.

The future center has a 2,180-square-meter plot in Cerro del Viento, specifically in the Miramar Urbanization, which was donated a decade ago by the Benalmádena City Council. A lot, which, according to the president of Afab, Maricruz Azuaga, “is there standing, dead while the association does not have enough space to respond to the demand of all the families who seek our help on a daily basis ”.

Currently there arethirty patients on the waiting list, but the problem is increasing because of the fifty users that Afab had been treating, at present, due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, it can only cover half . Thus, Azuaga confesses that “we move forward through the solidarity events that we are developing because the expenses are much higher than the income.”

The president of Afab emphasizes that thefuture building is a specific comprehensive care center for families with Alzheimer’s patientsand “it is necessary to have these facilities now. We can not wait any longer”. Families are tired of having doors closed on them, one after another, while this disease not only gives them no respite, but increasingly affects a greater number of people.

These future facilities would come to give a quality of life to caregivers, patients and relatives, as they would be offered, in addition to the constant care that this type of patient requires, a series of cognitive therapies that are crucial to slow the progression of this disease, which should be noted that, today today, there is no cure.

From Afab they highlight the work carried out from the residences, but underline that “they cannot offer a specific work in Alzheimer’s as would be done from the center of Benalmádena”. In fact, at present, the association confesses that “the space we have at our headquarters does not allow us to implement all the necessary therapies for these patients.”

“Tomorrow may be you. Tomorrow may be late”

Azuaga believes that “if the four administrations – in reference to the town councils of Benalmádena and Torremolinos, the Diputación de Málaga and the Junta de Andalucía – agreed that the center could be completed in a year ”.  In this sense, within the desperation for this project to start its journey, from Afab they state that although the planned budget is much higher, “if the public administrations put at least one million euros, the association would go out of its way to involve the private sector to add what is missing ”.

In relation to possible subsidies to make the construction of the center viable, they explain that “we cannot attend any because the line for construction by the Board this year has not been opened and of course, the one that is active is for centers with started works and neither can we because ours only has the site ”.

Afab believes that “if in principle the administrations subsidize the cost of the structure and its enclosure, the next impulse would be easier to achieve because more types of public aid could be used to complete its construction.”

For his part, the mayor, Víctor Navas, – who attended the protest together with several members of the Government team of both the PSOE and IU-, explained to this medium that “we support the claim to Afab and the City Council has already put 1,047,000 euros, which is the value of the plot. What we ask is that the Diputación de Málaga contribute a million more, and another the Junta de Andalucía to be able to build the center ”.

The first mayor emphasizes that “these centers are not the responsibility of the town councils but of the autonomous administration and despite that, the municipal lot was assigned for their construction, -for which Afab does not pay any fee- and in addition, we provide them with a subsidy annual. Now the other public administrations also have to get involved ”.

Regarding the members of the opposition, the PP officials – who met with Afab on Thursday – could not attend when they were in a Congress in Granada, although they did so on behalf of the party, a group of affiliates. From Ciudadanos, its spokesperson, Juan Antonio Vargas, also expressed his party’s support for Afab and highlighted that “we asked in plenary session that for the 2020 budgets a budget be included for the construction of the Alzheimer’s center and it was not approved” .

Definitely, Afab is shelteredby the agents local politiciansof different acronyms, but right now the only thing that really counts to crystallize its much-demanded comprehensive care center for Alzheimer’s patients is the plot in Cerro del Viento, donated a decade ago by the Consistory, and the tireless struggle of all families and members of the association to offer these patients a decent quality of life.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that not only affects the person who suffers it, but also, and in a very significant way, the family, which has to face the deterioration of the loved one, and their progressive need for customized help that the disease progresses.

Currently, there is no treatment that can cureor reverse the signs of the disease, but there are treatments that try to slow its progression, control its symptoms and improve as far as possible the quality of life of patients and their families. And for this reason, the construction of the Alzheimer’s center in Benalmádena is so crucialfor these families.

Alzheimer’s affects all dimensions of the person -biomedical, cognitive, emotional, social, functional and environmental-, so the intervention must be comprehensive and cover all of them, from the onset of the disease to the last phases . And it is for this reason, that specialized centers in the care of this type of patients are so important as the one that they ask for it to be built in the city, since they have multidisciplinary teams, whose professionals work in an integrated and interconnected way around to an individualized care plan, with shared objectives based on offering the care and support that the person with Alzheimer’s requires, granting them autonomy as a right and favoring their quality of life and that of their family members.

At present, according to the family members in their manifesto, “associations such as Afab are the only healthcare support that both the Alzheimer’s patients like their families. No one else is going to take care of them and we have been waiting for our center for a decade. The time has come to say: Enough ”.

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