Mangaluru : “On Tuesday October 27, I went to the hall at Hotel Woodlands where we generally meet and found no one. I then called chairman Surendranathan of Institution of Engineers (India)-Mangaluru Chapter, who told me that the talk is on Wednesday October 28 at Saffron Boutique Hotel. At 6 pm Surendranathan called me to find out where I was and I told him that I was at home sleeping. When he reminded me of my talk, I could not connect and was totally lost. This my friends is dementia, where when one cannot remember the context even after being reminded. Going to Woodlands on a wrong date is forgetfulness and not dementia” said Jerardin D’Souza, founder of (MAA) Mangalore Alzheimer’s Association, as he began his talk organized by the Institution of Engineers IEI [India], Institution of Valuers and Association of Engineers, DK, Udupiand Kodagu at Saffron Boutique Hotel as part of their AGM.
“Bharat Ratna Vajapayee, former defence minister George Fernandes and world boxerMohdammed Ali are all united by the sad affliction of Dementia. Once afflicted, caregiving forms a major concern since they live a long life but degenerate slowly placing a huge burden on the caregiver,” said Jerardin D’Souza. Having met Richard Shreder, director of Alzheimer’s Facilities, Seattle, USA, when he was a tourist in Mangaluru, Jerardin founded the Mangalore Alzheimer’s Association, MAA to support the Alzheimer’s Dementia, AD sufferers in Mangaluru.
“Disagreeing or arguing with the AD affected should be avoided and should tap into their earlier memory by showing old albums and rekindling older memories. Dementia is a general broad heading under which Parkinsons, Vascular, Lewy Body, Alzheimer’s and many other dementia’s come. Alzheimer’s Dementia AD is the maximum accounting for approximately 50 to 70%,” saidJerardin using PowerPoint. He explained the symptoms, like keeping clothes in the fridge and failing to do normal work like dressing and the ways to communicate with the AD affected. He gave concrete examples of behavior changes in the AD affected from his experience in dealing with various people cutting across all communities.
“Alzheimer’s the most secular disease which makes no distinction in religion like we see today. It affects everyone. My friend advocate P B Rai tells me the sad fact that his uncle the brilliant engineer A V Rai, HOD of Electrical Engineering, NITK, suffered Alzheimer’s. So we have a sad example among us engineers,” added D’Souza, when all the assembled NITK engineers nodded sadly. “Having little alcohol say 30 ml or 60 ml was supposed to be healthy say some surveys, but not stopping at that and not having proper food leads to Dementia,” said Jerardin quoting the renowned Dr Ravish Thunga, who participated in the ‘Alzheimer’s panel discussion’ organized byMAA and moderated by Dr Prabha Adhikari. “After 60 years everyone should do a memory check and if needed exercises will be provided at KMC Attavar. Having undergone ‘understanding Dementia’ online course from Tasmania University, the focus now in Australia is to improve the quality of life of the AD affected since there is no cure as of now,” said D’Souza.
“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 JerardinD’Souza, to a thundering applause.
There were various queries in the interactive session that followed. For those who want to check about Dementia or need more details, KMC provides memory check and Dr Keshav Pai, HOD, psychiatry has arranged for the tests and if found wanting KMC Nava Chaitanya under Dr PrabhaAdhikari’s guidance conducts memory clinic where exercises are provided. Mohanraj has started a caregivers training and placement service.
The IEI chairman Dr Surendranathan presided over the function. Dr Annappa, honorary secretaryIEI, Satish Rao Iddya, chairman, Institute of Valuers, S N Bhat, honorary secretary, B T Kantharaj, President, KDKUEA, were present on the dais. Divaker Shetty, honorary secretary delivered the vote of thanks.