On August, the Border2Beach team – a team four amateur cyclists and good friends – will cover 2 200km, to raise funds to support the need for more caregivers trained in dementia care. Border2Beach wants to raise R200 000 to support the training of 80 caregivers. Alzheimer’s SA provides this education at a cost of R2 500 per person.
Globally there are an estimated 50 million people living with dementia – a term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory, thinking, behaviour, and the ability to perform everyday tasks – of which Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form.
The team consists of brothers Struan and Lyle Anderson (whose late father Jonathan was a dementia sufferer), as well as friends Gareth Myles and Simon Clayton. Simon’s father has also been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. On August 24 the team will be setting off from Beitbridge on the Zimbabwe-South Africa border, with a plan to arrive in Cape Town on September 7. September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and the trip follows a route undertaken by Struan and Lyle’s adventurous father decades before them by bike, at the tender age of 17!
Myths and misconceptions
Despite growing numbers of people affected by dementia, there are still many dangerous misconceptions, including the myth that it is a normal part of ageing, or that dementia patients are bewitched or ‘possessed’. It is these harmful misunderstandings and stigmas that Border2Beach hope to combat through word of mouth, a social media campaign, and specialist training for caregivers.
Signs and symptoms
Dementia isn’t just a difficulty remembering facts; it is a progressive loss of independence, mobility, memory, and even sometimes personality traits. There is no cure and limited treatments, not least of all because dementia patients are mostly unable to advocate for themselves.
However, through the personal experiences of the Border2Beach team, they’ve realised that early detection and the need for education around these symptoms can afford a family time to prepare and help combat feelings of stress and guilt. Additionally, dementia patients do require specialist care.
The group will finish on September 7 on the beach in front of Lagoon Beach Hotel & Spa, where everyone is welcome to join the riders back from the end of their journey.
How can you support?
• Show your support: Contribute what you can to the fundraising campaign on BackABuddy, or commit to educating one caregiver for R2500. https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/border2beach-psycle
• Spread the word, and track their progress: Use the hashtags #Border2Beach #Border2BeachPsycleTour