Arab News – Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar inaugurated the “Alzheimer’s village” at Al-Bugairi neighborhood of the historical city of Al-Diriyah here on Saturday.
He also launched a number of projects of the Saudi Alzheimer’s Disease Association (SADA) and hailed the association, which is headed by Prince Ahmad bin Abdulaziz, for offering various services to patients and their families.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life.
The projects include the Emergency Alzheimer Team service, in which volunteers report missing Alzheimer’s patients to the appropriate authorities, and Alzheimer Transporting Program to locates donors and manufactures for designing special vehicles for patients to move from home to hospital and back.
The event was attended, among others, by Prince Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Abdulrahman, governor of Diriyah, and Prince Saud bin Khaled bin Abdullah bin Abdulrahman, chairman of SADA board.
A large number of senior citizens and their families, philanthropists and representatives of the event sponsors like Riyadh Development Authority, ExxonMobil, Saudi Fransi Bank, and BAE Systems also attended the function.
Rana Al-Merie, the executive director of SADA, told Arab News they got the idea of building the Alzheimer’s village from the Netherlands, which has built such a village for 150 old people with advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease, to let them live in a free and safe environment. “The goal of creating the village here is to have an appropriate place for social activities in pursuit of community understanding and conduct awareness campaigns on the disease and patients.”
Al Merie said that there is a lack of updated statistics on Alzheimer’s patients in the Kingdom but they are estimated be around 50000. Choosing the Al-Bugairi as the location for the village was to draw public attention to the disease more effectively because the neighborhood is one of the famous parts of Al-Diriyah city, the capital of the first Saudi state, she said.
“SADA selected this day to launch the village, to mark World Volunteers Day and to highlight the importance of voluntary work, ” she said. The inauguration ceremony saw speeches by experts and officials besides a variety of programs.