General Public Awareness on World Alzheimer's Day -2011

On the occasion of World Alzheimer's Day 2011, the Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) – Hyderabad Deccan organized a general public awareness program and Memory screening Camp, 9:30 AM –1PM, at the Senior Citizens Welfare association, A.S.Rao Nagar, Secunderabad. The WAD program was organized in partnership with Helpage India, GHMC AASARA, Asha Hospitals and Yashoda Hospitals.

The session, attended by 150, commenced with a warm welcome by Mr. M.K.R.Sharma, Secretary Senior Citizens Welfare Association of A.S.Rao Nagar. Mr Sharma explained the aim of the program which is to sensitize the community about the disease take best care of demented elderly.

Dr K Chandrasekhar (Vice- President, ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan and Director, Division of Neuropsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry at Asha Hospitals, Hyderabad), spoke about dementia and provided Indian statistics of the disease. The Dementia India report states that there are 3.7 million people been suffering with dementia in India. Unlike the general misconception that the disease is a normal part of aging, it occurs in less than 5% of old people above the age of 60 years. Dr Chandrasekhar enumerated the early stage symptoms such as forgetting names of close relatives, language problems such as losing track of threads in a conversation, inability to sequence steps, loss of logical thinking etc. He explained differences between normal forgetfulness and emphasized that the symptoms of Dementia do not happen overnight but progresses over a period of time. Moderate stage symptoms were also explained in terms of continuous change in behavior, withdrawal, sleep disturbance, wandering. The progression to advanced stage with a complete dependence of caregivers for all activities of daily living including food, dressing, hygiene were also mentioned and practical solutions to deal with those problems were highlighted.

Dr.Chandrasekhar also spoke about ARDSI as a national organization, its inception and the role it has played both at the government sector and in the society at large. He highlighted ARDSI's achievements over the years and also spoke about how the Hyderabad Deccan chapter came into being. He then spoke about the local chapter's goals which are primarily to improve quality of life of persons with dementia and their caregivers, creating awareness in the society and hence making Hyderabad a dementia-friendly city. He then highlighted the activities that included conducting monthly caregiver meetings, training programs, counseling sessions, memory walk, and running an activity centre for persons with dementia.

Ms.Mamatha Bai Project Director GHMC AASARA and guest of honour of the program appreciated ARDSI efforts and activities as well as Senior citizens Welfare Association efforts make this event successful. While providing a crisp summary of the doctors talk , she also suggested to the audience to adopt a wholesome, stress-free and organized lifestyle inclusive of mental and physical activities such as yoga, pranayama. She released the Hindi translation of the ADI's caregiver manual translated by Ms.Kamala Rupela.

The program concluded with the vote of thanks by Ms.Rukhasana Ansari , Secretary ARDSI Hyd Deccan Chapter .

Memory Screening Camp
On the occasion of World Alzheimer's Day 2011 memory screening camp was conducted for senior citizens at Senior Citizens Welfare association, A.S.Rao Nagar, Secunderabad. Four psychologists, three speech therapy Interns from Memory Clinic, NIMS have conducted comprehensive memory screening test. Three doctors from Asha Hospitals & NIMS have done clinical examination for the participants. Fifty people were screened, of which 14 people were detected with memory problems. They were advised to visit Memory clinic, NIMS for further assessments. All participants were given reports of their performance in memory test. Literature containing what is normal forgetfulness, early signs of dementia, tips for healthy aging was also provided to the participants. The programme received good applause from the senior citizens.

Family Outing
ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan organized an Outing for persons with dementia and their family members at Sainikpuri Club, Secunderabad.

The community event was attended by persons with dementia, their care-givers and Ardsi volunteers. A total of 15 people participated in the event. Ms. Aparajita Bhattacharya, Joint Secretary, ARDSI Hyd Deccan coordinated the Tambola game, culminating in a prize distribution ceremony to the winners and all participants. The game had active participation from all the patients who responded with eagerness and enthusiasm throughout the game. A game of musical chairs with old Hindi songs was a big hit with all as participants jostled to get to the chairs. The positive impact on families was evident with the high energy levels of all participants and the warmth reciprocated by patients and carers.

All the family members appreciated the way in which ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan motivated the patients and care-givers.

The event concluded with delicious snacks and Ms. Rukhsana Ansari, Secretary,ARDSI Hyd Deccan gave a concluding vote of thanks to all the Dementia Persons, their family members and ARDSI Hyd Deccan Volunteers for making this event successful.


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