Mr E and his family, current experience | Brazil

Mr E and his family, current experience | Brazil

17 Nov 2021

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Mr. E has left his family many years ago to work in a big city. While he visited his family once a year, his children have become increasingly estranged and he has lost contact with them after his wife passed away five years ago. He lives on his own in a small flat. Mr. E finds it difficult to find his way to the shops and back, has difficulty remembering appointments and often forgets about eating.

Mr. Elias’s work colleagues, company’s human resources sector, neighbours and friends, if any, would possibly be the ones to refer him to a consultation with a doctor at the public health system. It would take a while before Mr. Elias realised he himself would need an appointment to discuss his condition. After multiple appointments and a series of tests, he would probably be told not to worry about being forgetful and would be prescribed tablets to release the stress and depression of living alone.

Because many general practitioners often see dementia as a normal part of ageing, it is likely that Mr. Elias would be at a later stage of dementia when diagnosis would formally be given. At this stage, his safety would be compromised and his capacity to plan his own future would be diminished.

Although Mr. Elias’s work colleagues, neighbours and close friends (if any) could ask for advice and support through Alzheimer’s associations based in Curitiba or through online courses (some of them are paid ones), this scenario is not likely to happen as there is not enough information about these services for people in Brazil. Because there is no dementia-specific policy in Brazil, as well as limited access to free care homes, Mr. Elias would probably need primary care health professionals to refer him to social workers in order to either remediate his relationship with his family or to be placed in a public long term care institution.

Although it is a less likely possibility, Mr. Elias could try to contact one of his children. After knowing the health state of their dad, perhaps one of his children could ask Mr. Elias to live with one of them (in Brazil there is a tacit belief that children must support their older parents, besides this responsibility is also stated in the Brazilian Federal Constitution) or convince him to go to a public long term care institution in his hometown to be closer to their children (this possibility, however, may not exist). Another possibility would be Mr. Elias to be oriented to pay for a carer for himself, depending on his financial situation. Nonetheless, somebody would have to help him to deal with work regulations as his capacity diminishes with the progress of the disease.

Mr. Elias could experience stigma as people in the neighbourhood would probably start to note his different behaviour and could start to label and judge him and his family, in a way they would not be aware of. Unfortunately, the lack of information about dementia in the community may result in a lack of support from people in society.