Grand and Colorful ‘World Alzheimer’s Month’ launched
City of Mangaluru takes its First step towards a “Dementia Friendly City” with the theme “Remember Me”, while launching the “World Alzheimer’s Month-September 2016” to raise awareness of Dementia and Challenge stigma, in association with ‘PAGE’ (People’s Association for Geriatric Empowerment) comprising of Lions Club District 317D, Syndicate Bank, Karnataka Bank, Nitte Education Trust, Indospect Pharma, Vishwas Trust, Spoorthi Charitable Trust ,Susheng Trust, Ave Maria Palliative Care Home, KMC Nava Chaitanya Attavar and Bejai, AGE Mangalore, Mangalore Senior Citizen Association, PROBUS Club, Bright HR Solutions, A.V.Baliga Trust-Udupi, KMC-Mangalore, KSHEMA, Yenepoya University, AJ Institute of Medical Sciences, Abhaya Ashraya – Mangalore University, MV Shetty School of Social Sciences, Roshni Nilaya and other Schools of Social Sciences, St Agnes Special School Teacher Trainees, among many others.
Mangaluru: Rain didn’t stop hundreds of old-timers and young join in the inauguration of ‘ World Alzheimer’s Month’ at Kadri Park during the early morning hours. While most of the seniors, middle-aged and youth were still in bed, a few hundred of dedicated and enthusiastic citizens of Mangaluru braving the drizzle, some attired in red and white, a few in just red clothing and carrying colorful umbrellas, assembled at the Park to support a good cause pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s indeed nice to note that the City of Mangaluru with the tremendous efforts put in by the energetic members of “PAGE” ( People’s Association for Geriatric Empowerment) in taking its First step towards a “Dementia Friendly City”.
With the theme “Remember Me” for this Alzheimer’s Month, PAGE is all set to make Mangaluru Dementia Friendly, and such important memories.. will make them stick . September 2016 will surely mark the fifth global ‘World Alzheimer’s Month’, an international campaign to raise awareness of Dementia and challenge stigma. Alzheimer’s is an ailment which in simple language, takes one away from the reality of the present situation. Normally it is associated with forgetfulness. It is not just simple forgetfulness. It is an inability to relate the past to the present. In the final stages one no more recognizes one’s own family, he or she lives with, mistakenly takes the kitchen for the toilet or any other such gross discrepancies.
Today while Alzheimer’s is spreading fast, we have to find means of avoiding it by keeping the mind active, playing indoor games, solving cross word puzzles and other such, without getting alarmed over forgetfulness of immediate things which comes with ageing. At the same time the past is almost indelibly written in the memory. We must keep our minds active and receptive at all times. Dementia is a term used to describe different brain disorders that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. This disease knows no social, economic or ethnic boundaries. Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.
Organizations like PAGE/Mangalore Alzheimer’s Association (MAA) and many other associations/medical and social institutions are now bound to play an important role in caring for the elderly with symptoms of Alzheimer’s/Dementia. They say that Dementia has no cure, but a lot can be achieved by proper care and awareness projects organized by these concerned organizations, who have come forward for the rescue of the Dementia affected people. Welcoming the gathering, Dr Prabha Adhikari-Founder of KMC Nava Chaitanya said, ” The theme for World Alzheimer’s Month 2016 is Remember Me. We’re encouraging people all around the world to learn to spot the signs of dementia, but also not to forget about loved ones who are living with dementia, or those who may have passed away. What is Dementia ? It is a disease of the brain with death of nerve cells of the brain and its connections .Although it starts with memory loss ,as the disease spreads to other parts of the brain ,the individual looses his ability to speak , understand ,calculate, judge ,and slowly changes the person and his personality beyond recognition . In its final stages the disease affects his ability to speak ,eat ,bathe ,walk or self care completely that he becomes totally dependent.”
She further said “The individual suffers from lot of depression, anxiety and fear at early stages ,abnormal behaviour, hallucinations with aggression at middle stage.There are lot of behavioural changes too .The care giver will suffer much more than the patient and will need lot of support and anxiety. It may completely change a dignified elderly beyond recognition .This not only distresses the patient but also the loved ones who will have to struggle manage such a patient and try and keep up the dignity of the individual for nearly 7-10 years. Alzheimer`s Disease is a type of Dementia named after the German doctor who described the disease. Dementia is a slow disease. It takes 6-10 years to progress form one stage to the other It is a progressive disease. During this month we will bring awareness about this disease through various programmes in trying to improve the quality of life of those suffering from dementia and their Carers”.
The “World Alzheimer’s Month” was inaugurated by releasing a bunch of red and white balloons in the air, followed by a short march past inside the Park. Dr Olinda Pereira- Founder/Director of VishwasTrust for the Elderly said,” Dementia can affect all aspects of a person’s life, as well as their family’s. If you have been diagnosed with dementia, or you are caring for someone with the condition, remember that there is advice and support available to help you live well. People with dementia shouldn’t simply stop doing what they enjoy in life; instead, they should try to remain as independent as possible and continue to enjoy their usual activities. Over time, people with dementia will need help to cope at home, and they may even need residential care in a nursing home eventually”.
“It is natural to feel worried about the future, but you are not alone – whether you have dementia or you care for someone with the condition. PAGE and other social services and voluntary organizations under PAGE can all provide advice and support to help you and your family. Living a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, including people with dementia, and is the best way to help prevent dementia. Eating well and exercising are important for everyone. PAGE has health and well being advice for everyone. If a friend or family member finds it hard to talk to you, make the first move and explain that you still need to see them and tell them how they can help you.” added Dr Pereira.
Police Commissioner Chandra Shekar released the “World Alzheimer’s Month” brochure, and praised Er Jerardin D’Souza, Dr Olinda Pereira, DR Prabha Adhikari and their team for their dedication and efforts in bringing awareness about Alzheimer’s/Dementia, and trying to make Mangaluru Dementia Friendly. MLC Capt. Ganesh Karnik also complimented PAGE and its team for their concern and care towards people affected with Dementia, thereby making a difference in their lives and also make them happy. .Ln Arun Shetty-Governor of Lions District 317 D also spoke and thanked everyone for their unstinted support and love towards this good cause.
Er Jeradin D’souza-the Founder of Mangalore Alzheimer’s Association during vote of thanks said, ” There is lack of awareness on the condition along with stigma.It is considered as madness ,and these individuals are socially isolated .To prevent wandering many of the elderly with dementia are even chained and fed as animals .They definitely need the love and care of the loved ones and the society at this stage of their lives. Although it is not curable ,early diagnosis has interventions that can keep them active and independent much longer. And to bring much awareness about this disease we have chalked out various projects during the World Alzheimer’s Month. Your support and patronage is very much needed in our efforts to make Mangaluru Dementia Friendly. Thank you all for your great support”.
Following the formal ceremony, the enthusiastic group of elders and youngsters walked in the park singing fun songs, laughing and celebrating being old, yet energetic. Dr.Olinda Pereira , the 91 year young spirited Lady said ” I will walk a little ” and joined in the ‘walk’ putting the ‘Younger Lazy generation’ to shame. Dr. Prabha who had brought her affected patients too for the walk was very attentive and motivating towards them.There was laughter fun and smiles on every Seniors face. Seemed like it was truly a Holy ground ! The assembled ”Old Youngsters” sang and laughed with rare zest and energy. Kannada ,Konkani, English and Tulu Songs were sung with rare camaraderie. A Senior lady sang old numbers, among which “Ami Dogi Sezari” and “Ye Ye Kathrina” were couple of popular Konkani songs. And the bevy of old-timers were joined by the “Big Star Attraction” of the day, Jeradin D’Souza who sang “Jack and Jill” and “Soorangini” numbers thereby adding Life to the gathering. Yet another lady in her seventies started the ”Laughing” exercise as they regularly do it in their ‘Laughing Club”.
There were a few contests for the old-timers, like finding hidden cards placed among the plants in the Park, and also a Selfie contest. After a few group photographs, including one with a black stray dog which had also enjoyed the company of the Seniors, everyone went home with sweet and happy memories..and such important memories…make them stick, with the theme “Remember Me”. During this “World Alzheimer’s Month”, there will be – 15 awareness programmes for various groups to reach out 15 groups ; Free Memory screening tests at 15 centres ; Slogan competition by writing a slogan on Memory /dementia in Memory Pad ; Wearing the badge with the theme ‘Remember Me’ ; Setting up of memory Clinics at 5 centres with facilities for neuro- psychological testing for confirmation of dementia Sending nomination of patients living with dementia who enjoy coming to social functions to receive awards on 21st of September (Valedictory function); Care giver awards for those who are caring for people with AD; -send nominations even if their cared one is no more; Memory Walk to Roshini Nilaya; and concluding ceremony on 21st of September 2016.
“An elderly gentleman goes to the clinic to get his finger dressed. He constantly looks at his watch. The nurse asks him, “Sir, you seem to be in a great hurry.” “Yes, madam, I want to have breakfast with my wife.” The nurse smiles, “You seem very romantic even at this age,” she says. “No madam, my wife is suffering from Alzheimer’s and she does not know me for the past 5 years.” “So you can go anytime since she does not know who you are,” says the nurse. The gentleman with tears in his eyes says,”But madam, I know who she is….”. This my friends, is the unconditional love that is required to deal with the Dementia afflicted, concluded Er Jerardin D’Souza while saying goodbye to everyone that came for the launch of “World Alzheimer’s Month”,- in response he received a thundering applause.
Please note :Slogan Competition on Dementia /Memory within each organization by writing the slogan on the pages of Memory pad that will be provided by the committee and select the two best slogans and send it to the committee for award by 10th September; Award for People living with dementia who have achieved something despite the diagnosis of dementia or Mild Cognitive Impairment –Please send nominations to PAGE Office through E mail or SMS by 10th September 2016.
Care Giver award – Please send nominations by sending the names and contact details of the care giver and the name of the patient with dementia that they are caring for and send it to PAGE office (VishwasTrust, Valencia Hall Road, 4th Cross, Mangaluru-575002 ) through E mail or SMS by 10th September 2016
For more details contact: Vishwas Trust at 08242430718 or Dr Prabha Adhikari at 9880991290 or E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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