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31 August 2020

The Silence of Alzheimer’s

Belgium: The Silence of Alzheimer’s, 31 August 2020. Images from bpost.

Technical Specifications:

The Silence of Alzheimer’s
9,80 €
Theme: Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. As many as 70% of the demented suffer from this disease. It is characterized by memory problems. As the disease progresses, people with the disease find it increasingly difficult to carry out their daily activities.
Postage stamp: Portrait of an elderly man who is almost no longer recognizable or visible. A younger person kisses this man.
Leaf: Myosotis (“don’t forget me”) drawn in pencil to express fleetingness.
Creation: Drawings and layout Heike Sofia Villavicencio Rammeloo
Postage stamp format: 30mm x 40mm
Leaf format: 235mm x 165mm
Sheet composition: 10 postage stamps
Value 1 Non Prior Belgium
For standard shipments up to 50g
Paper: FSC white scrubbed
Dentelure: 11 1/2
Printing process: Offset
Issue date: August 31, 2020
Repro and Print: Philately bpost and Stamps Printing

Blurry and precise to faith

Alzheimer’s in One Single Image

Issue of limited postage stamps 14

Alzheimer’s disease involves so many things that it is complicated to evoke it through a single image. Yet this is what happened to make the illustrator Heike Sofia Villavicencio Rammeloo (33) within the framework of this special. She opted for a faded and blurry image which combines photography, painting and pencil drawing.

If bpost went knocking on the door of Heike Villavicencio, it is because of the latter’s involvement in Postkantoor 00/00/00, an organization grouping together letters written by or intended for deceased persons. The author of the letter receives a response from this post office, in the form of a reinterpretation or illustration. Heike is one of the appointed illustrators of this association for some years ago: “I was pleasantly surprised that bpost asked me to design a new postage stamp. I confess have a weakness for letters and cards handwritten ”.

Symbolic Asset

Heike was inspired for his project by experiences of people with Alzheimer’s disease. “I tried first to appropriate myself as much as possible the different way patients perceive and feel the world. The two central figures in the foreground represent an elderly man suffering of disease, flanked by a silhouette white that can be interpreted differently annuities ways. It may as well be a grandchild filled with love, a member nursing staff or a souvenir arose from the past. “

Heike intentionally drew the Alzheimer patient in a vague manner: “The disease confuses the personality and memories. The person who takes care of the man with dementia is behind him, both literally and figuratively. Her gaze looks affectionate, but at the same time, he turns away: she must little by little to take leave of the man that she knew “.

For the background, we had to look for a little longer. “I finally decided on a vague surface with blue and white hues, which returns again to troubled reality. Heike does did not want to impose its symbolism. ” I consider it important that people can have their interpretation and feelings clean compared to this postage stamp. “

A Sheet of Adapted Postage Stamps

She was also interested in symbolism by composing the postage stamp sheet. “I often resort to flowers and their symbolic meaning in my work. My choice fell on forget-me-not (don’t forget me, in Greek) so as to do the link with dementia. This gives the whole a poetic counterweight by compared to the image on the postage stamp. This flower conveys a symbolic double, which bridges oblivion and love. What is special is that I only found out later that this flower is also the official symbol of the Alzheimer’s disease “.

The perforation pattern is less stiff than usual. Postage stamps seem to go all over the place. “That also symbolizes a reality that is more chaotic and life is losing its structure. Removing a stamp gives again the feeling of losing a piece of the puzzle. “

Combination of three techniques Heike’s work is grounded in typical on the combination of techniques print with painting and drawing. “Often I attack my project from of a photo printed on paper. A photo is permanent and symbolizes the re-bedridden. I then stick my own world to it by reworking the illustration in pencil and to paint. The pencil lines are very fragile: we can erase them at all moment. Which returns once again to Alzheimer’s silence, as I prefer call him. “

Full Sheet of 10 Stamps:

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), also referred to simply as Alzheimer’s, is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gradually worsens over time. It is the cause of 60–70% of cases of dementia. The most common early symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events. As the disease advances, symptoms can include problems with language, disorientation (including easily getting lost), mood swings, loss of motivation, not managing self-care, and behavioral issues. As a person’s condition declines, they often withdraw from family and society. Gradually, bodily functions are lost, ultimately leading to death. Although the speed of progression can vary, the typical life expectancy following diagnosis is three to nine years.

The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is poorly understood. About 70% of the risk is believed to be inherited from a person’s parents, with many genes usually involved. Other risk factors include a history of head injuries, depression, and hypertension. The disease process is associated with plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. A probable diagnosis is based on the history of the illness and cognitive testing with medical imaging and blood tests to rule out other possible causes. Initial symptoms are often mistaken for normal ageing. Examination of brain tissue is needed for a definite diagnosis. Mental and physical exercise, and avoiding obesity may decrease the risk of AD; however, evidence to support these recommendations is weak. There are no medications or supplements that have been shown to decrease risk.

No treatments stop or reverse its progression, though some may temporarily improve symptoms. Affected people increasingly rely on others for assistance, often placing a burden on the caregiver. The pressures can include social, psychological, physical, and economic elements. Exercise programs may be beneficial with respect to activities of daily living and can potentially improve outcomes. Behavioral problems or psychosis due to dementia are often treated with antipsychotics, but this is not usually recommended, as there is little benefit and an increased risk of early death.

As of 2015, there were approximately 29.8 million people worldwide with AD with about 50 million as of 2020. It most often begins in people over 65 years of age, although 4–5% of cases are early-onset Alzheimer’s. It affects about 6% of people 65 years and older. In 2015, dementia resulted in about 1.9 million deaths. The disease is named after German psychiatrist and pathologist Alois Alzheimer, who first described it in 1906. In developed countries, AD is one of the most financially costly diseases.

Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Effects of ageing on memory but not AD

  • Forgetting things occasionally
  • Misplacing items sometimes
  • Minor short-term memory loss
  • Not remembering exact details

Early Stage Alzheimer’s

  • Not remembering episodes of forgetfulness
  • Forgets names of family or friends
  • Changes may only be noticed by close friends or relatives
  • Some confusion in situations outside the familiar

Middle Stage Alzheimer’s

  • Greater difficulty remembering recently learned information
  • Deepening confusion in many circumstances
  • Problems with sleep
  • Trouble determining their location

Late stage Alzheimer’s

  • Poor ability to think
  • Problems speaking
  • Repeats same conversations
  • More abusive, anxious, or paranoid

First Day Sheet:

SDF – The Silence of Alzheimer’s
First Day Sheet with the show “The Silence of Alzheimer’s”, which serenely draws attention to this disease of ‘silence’.
FDS with a first day obliteration and presenting on the back an interesting N/F text on the theme, as well as all the technical characteristics of the postage stamp issue.
Issue date: 08/31/2020
Product code: 00000031626

First Day Cover:

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