An awareness camp was held on the 5th of Feb 2009 for the members of Senior Citizens Welfare Association (SCWA) of Dr AS Rao Nagar in Secunderabad, this session was jointly held by ASRDSI Hyderabad Deccan Chapter and the AASRA Foundation.

Senior Citizens Welfare Association (SCWA) of Dr AS Rao Nagar branch has about 500 members, comprising mostly of retired employees of ECIL, Dept of Atomic Energy, Railways and the state government. About 50 highly active and energetic individuals, mostly men participated in this program. The session started at 16:45 Hrs by distribution of reading material and literature on Dementia, ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan and AASRA.

Welcome address by Mr Ram Mohan Rao, President of the SCWA branch of AS Rao Nagar: Mr Ram Mohan Rao spoke at length on the founding of SCWA, its activities, services and facilities provided to its various members. He then introduced the chief guest of the evening Mr Srinivasulu of AASRA to address the audience.

AASRA: Mr Srinivasulu spoke of the services being extended to senior citizens under various state and central government initiatives / programs and on the need to establish new Senior Citizen Welfare Associations at other centers in AP. He touched upon old-age related health conditions such as memory problems and the compelling need for awareness amongst the target population and the public in general.

He sought to continue the partnership between AASRA and ARDSI Hyd Deccan and looked forward to jointly working on conducting more such awareness programs, extending support in managing persons with dementia found on the streets of the city as well as in the establishment of day-care centers and respite care facilities.

He then introduced Dr Alladi Suvarna (President, ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan) to the audience and invited her to address the gathering.

"What is Dementia?" A Medical practitioner's perspective: Dr Suvarna spoke in brief about the brain, the memory and causes for its degeneration. She articulated on the importance differentiating memory loss due to Dementias as compared to general forgetfulness due to old age, the causative factors for onset of Dementia and treatments available.

ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan – Introduction and Service offerings: Shashidhar K (Executive Member, ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan) introduced ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan chapter, its history and purpose.

He discussed at length the goals and objectives, service offerings. He emphasized the need for joint action by ARDSI, families of persons with dementia, the medical professionals, the state government and the general public at large. The general lack of awareness amongst the target population and the public was resulting in perpetuation of old myths and practices surrounding such illnesses as Dementia. There exists an urgent need to dispel these old beliefs and practices that caused immense distress not only to the persons with dementia but also the families / caregivers.

Mr Shashidhar sought participation of SCWA members in actively spreading awareness and supporting ARDSI's initiatives in this direction.

The meeting was concluded by a vote of thanks by Mr Ram Mohan and a reaffirmation of commitment to Senior Citizens cause by all the participants.