Mangaluru: ‘Being Old is not Synonymous with Dementia’- says Er Jerardin D’Souza

Mangaluru: Dementia can be viewed as a futile and hopeless situation. There are many developments that can be utilized to make life easier and comfortable to the affected. Knowing that there is NO Cure puts the onus on Society from the Doctors. Doctors can only diagnose it as Dementia, but find it difficult to Pin Point which type it is exactly. So the Care Giving becomes of Paramount importance. Family suffers without Knowing how to handle the affected. Mangalore Alzheimer’s Association (MAA) is trying to educate the families & care givers on the manner in handling these sadly affected people.

According to a local doctor at KMC, Dr.Prabha Adhikari, TV viewing for more than 4 hours a day is associated with cognitive decline; Women are twice as likely to progress to Dementia from mild cognitive impairment; TV viewing with decreased physical activity has the worst cognition. But the good news is Brain Fitness Program of 12 weeks is known to improve the size of the brain. Included Brain Exercise, Physical Exercise & a Healthy Diet, which for Mangaloreans is done at the ACTIVE AGING Centres at KMC Nava Chaitanya & Spoorthi Trust. All elders should take benefit from these initiatives of Dr.Prabha Adhikari, whom Jerardin calls her the Soul of MAA.

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Action Group for Elderly (AGE)-Mangaluru had arranged a talk on Dementia by Er.Jerardin D’souza, Founder Director-MAA – the programme started by a two minute silence paying tribute to the soul of Former president of India, Dr.Abdul Kalam. The secretary of AGE, Zahid Hussein Baji, Secretary, AGE, Mangalore welcomed and introduced Er. Jerardin D’souza to the gathering. Mrs. Shameem Kunil, President AGE, Mangalore called the meeting to order, while Raghavan, the Treasurer, was also seated on the dais.

” I came to Balmatta yesterday, morning , went to a Hall nearby and didn’t find anyone, so I called Zahid Baji and inquired where were all the members-he told me the meeting was today 28th evening’ .And today at 5 pm, Baji calls me and asks me where was I.? and I tell him, I am at home sleeping. He tells me you are suppose to be here and give a talk on Dementia, and I ask, which Dementia.? Where Dementia, Who Dementia?. Having no idea or knowing anything of it, then, that my Friends is Dementia or Alzheimer’s, well as coming to Balmatta, a day earlier, going to the wrong Hall and coming at the wrong time is just Forgetfulness and NOT Dementia”- This is the difference between Forgetfulness and Dementia, explained Er.Jerardin in his opening remarks.

Dementia is a physical disease of the Brain, caused by the ongoing , irreversible death of Brain cells.He explained the various causes, due to age, genetic, family history. There are certain reversible dementia’s caused due to thyroid & vitamin deficiencies. Alzheimer’s [50 to 70%], Vascular, Lewy Body, Fronto temporal, are the few irreversible dementias, Jerardin explained. “I call this Dementia as a Medico-Socio Case. Like the other Accident , Dowry cases are Medico -Legal, this is Medico- Social, where Medicine has only a limited role.Without the Social participation, the suffering families will disintegrate. The Stress in managing a AD sufferer is so huge that, the Care Giver itself gets stressed out. As Richard Shreder used to say ‘ The Care Giver becomes the First Victim”. Here we as a Society need to stay together and support the families. MAA plays a huge role here. Awareness is created & because of public acceptance, the Stigma of “Madness” will recede and more openness will occur” added D’Souza.

A thorough Power point presentation explaining the causes, behavioral patterns, managing the AD affected. Care giver tips,Symptoms.& improving the Quality of life, rather than cribbing on not having a Cure, should be our emphasis, Mr.D’souza urged. He further said, “Dementia, like road accidents and Dowry cases being considered as Medico- Legal cases, I consider as a Medico-Social case. Where a combination of Doctors & Society alone can find a solution, rather than a Cure. The involvement of Society & forming of Support Group like MAA , is a necessity to support the suffering families not just the affected”.

D’souza further said, “Organizations like AGE Mangalore, play a big role in creating awareness and forming support groups. MAA has already created tremendous Awareness on Alzheimer’s Dementia, using the Social Media, like Facebook, Twitter. The MAA page on Facebook Posts useful information regularly and there is a huge readership. The TV , Radio Talk shows, various programs addressed at various organizations and being in the print media has created a sort of movement for which every citizen needs to be appreciated”.

There were many questions regarding symptoms, cures, managing, which were brilliantly explained with aid of power point presentation, pictures and explanation. Jerardin called Dr.Olinda Periera as an umbrella under which MAA and all social work functions, as she was the founder principal of Roshini School of Social work. He concluded by saying being old is not synonymous with Dementia, Dr.Kalam at 84 was as brilliant as ever and died with his shoes on. ‘Dream not in sleep , But a Dream that it does not allow you to sleep” Keeping the Brain Active like Dr.Kalam (84) and Dr.Olinda Periera (90), will not let Dementia or Alzheimer’s in, Er D’Souza concluded.

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