Monday, 18 January 2016 18:27

Alzheimer’s carers group

Alzheimer's slowly destroys memory and thinking skills Alzheimer's slowly destroys memory and thinking skills

Alzheimer’s, a dreaded disease currently without a cure, is as challenging for a caregiver as it is for a patient. As with many illnesses, a support group can provide much-needed help, something that, until recently, was sorely missing in Limassol.

British Limassol resident Lilian Hayball-Clarke lost her beloved spouse to Alzheimer’s in July 2015. The couple had travelled the world as physics and biology professors and retired in Cyprus five years earlier. The exhausting times Hayball-Clarke went through and vital help she received from a Paphos support group led her to start a Self-help Carers support group in Limassol at the end of 2014.


Preying on memory

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and finally the ability to carry out the simplest tasks, with over 100 million people worldwide expected to develop the affliction in the next 25 years.

One cause is the build-up of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, which can begin when one is in their 30s. Traumas to the head, mini-strokes and sleep apnoea are also known triggers for the onset of Alzheimer’s. The disease progresses from the mildest stage, to the most severe stages, when the patient becomes completely dependent on others.

It was at this stage that Hayball-Clarke was advised by doctors to draw on family assistance. But having no kin in Cyprus and only elderly relatives in the UK, the only option available was to hire paid community caregivers to help her at home.


‘In the same boat’

Hayball-Clark discovered others ‘in the same boat’, scattered across Cyprus and all at different stages of exhaustion. But thanks to a newspaper ad she found a Self-Help Group at the Archangel Michael Hospice in Mesa Chorio, near Paphos.

“The Group gave me the strength to care for my husband at home almost to the end in July 2015. It was during these group meetings that I conceived the idea for an English-speaking volunteer group in Limassol,” she explains.

Ultimately, Hayball Clarke’s 80-year-old husband lived out his last days in peace at the Archangel Michael Hospice in Paphos.

“The Hospice staff were excellent, as were Angel Guardians and The Phoenix Ambulance Service,” she says, and is confident the Limassol Carers Self-Help Group will, in turn, offer relief to carers and family members going through this exceptionally taxing time.

The Limassol Group meets monthly every last Saturday morning, on a free drop-in basis, from 10am-12pm, at Dr Femke Ellen’s Clinic reception room on the Limassol seafront.

Visit or call 96768796 for details.

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of January 15 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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