Awareness session on "Memory in Healthy Ageing and Disease" on 19 June 2012 at Sainikpuri Officers Association Club Auditorium

ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan Chapter conducted an awareness session at Sainikpuri Officers Association auditorium at Sainikpuri Officer's Club, Sainikpuri Secunderabad on 19th June, 2012.

Attended by 50 participants, mostly senior citizens who had retired from the Armed forces. Col K K Murthi (General Secretary - Senior Citizens Welfare Society, Sainikpuri) commenced the session with an introduction of the speakers, followed by a brief introduction of Dementia by Major General A V Rao (President - Senior Citizens Welfare Society, Sainikpuri)

Dr. Arindam Chakrabarthy (Senior Resident, Asha Hospital) spoke at length about the current scenario of aged population in India and how significant improvements in health and longevity among the elderly are leading to increased percentages of ageing population and rates of old age dependency. The process of ageing is universal and is degenerative in nature. He also explained about biological changes that accompany ageing, like changes in the skin, hormonal changes, and neurological changes, etc.

He mentioned that dementia is more common among older people and it could be caused by a number of factors, all of which lead to changes in the brain resulting in the loss of nerve cells (neurons) which carry messages in the brain and are responsible for storing memories. He spoke about the symptoms of dementia and highlighted the difference between dementia and normal forgetfulness associated with ageing. He emphasized on the need for caregivers to develop skills to manage challenging behavior and communicating with the patients.

Dr Chakrabarthy also spoke of the risk factors in dementia and how they could be reduced by maintaining healthy life style, healthy nutrition inclusive of fruits and vegetables, physical exercise, and mental activities to keep brain active. Ex. puzzles, reading, playing chess, etc. It is also important to maintain a socially active life and stay stress free.

Later, Mr Shashidhar Komaravolu (Executive member of ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan) presented an overview of ARDSI - a national organization, its activities and projects since its inception.. 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 highlighted the various activities undertaken by ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan that includemonthly caregiver meetings, training programs, counseling sessions, home visits, memory walk, and the running an activity centre for persons with dementia. He invited the audience to join as members and actively participate in ARDSI Hyderabad's work.

The audience listened to both speakers with rapt attention and asked questions regarding the disease and its treatment. Some of them had concerns about their memory that were answered by Dr.Anirban Chakrabarthy. Brochures, pamphlets and informative material regarding dementia, normal forgetfulness and aging were also distributed.

Col K K Murthi also committed to organizing more such awareness sessions as well as care-giver training program for their members.

The session ended with a vote of thanks by Col K K Murthi and high tea.