Michèle Clavery President, Alzheimer’s Association of Trinidad and Tobago

Michèle Clavery

President, Alzheimer’s Association of Trinidad and Tobago (AzATT)

Our father lived with Alzheimer’s disease for approximately 15 years before death. In the years leading up to his passing, as a family, we had to devise ways of treating with our marvellously wonderful, caring and loving father. He was the pillar of strength in our household, and the go-to person who took charge of all business matters, so when it was official that he was living with Alzheimer’s disease, it struck me to my heart for I couldn’t understand how an avid reader, for example, like my father was, now sat in a place that made him seem an infant. I say ‘seem’ because I have come to know and understand that those living with the disease are not children. That, first and foremost, must be understood when treating with persons living with the disease. My mother was very careful to ensure that our father’s dignity was never compromised, and we, his children, followed suit.

The very first meeting I attended at the Alzheimer’s Association of Trinidad and Tobago (AzATT), served as an eye-opener. In that one meeting I learnt a great deal about the disease: what to expect and how to care for someone living with Alzheimer’s (I learnt very soon not to use the word “suffering” when speaking of someone affected by the disease. I commented then, that if my mother and my brothers and I had the information now in my possession from the outset, caring for our dad would have been more manageable.

The purpose of my story is this: I feel it my duty to spread the word about the Alzheimer’s Association of Trinidad and Tobago (AzATT). As carers, we feel the stress and frustration most. It is incumbent on us, therefore, to ensure that we have the right tools, the patience, and the love to care for those who have cared for us.

So, as our association celebrates World Alzheimer’s Month 2021, I am making a special appeal to young people in particular, as well as all others, to join the Alzheimer’s Association of Trinidad and Tobago. We are a non-profit organisation in real need of heads, hands and hearts to help advance the association’s cause.

For more information, feel free to reach us at #345-6549