All’s Well that Ends Well! Valedictory Function of ‘World Alzheimer’s Month’ was a Low-Key affair

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All’s Well that Ends Well! Valedictory Function of ‘World Alzheimer’s Month was a Low-Key affair due to the pandemic but was well organized at Kadri Park on Wednesday, 22 September on a bright sunny evening at 4 pm

Mangaluru: All’s Well that Ends Well!-That’s right. Quoting Shakespeare’s words, “But with the word the time will bring on summer, When briers shall have leaves as well as thorns, All’s well that ends well; still the fine’s the crown; Whatever the course, the end is the renown “-all I can say is that the members of PAGE (People’s Association of Geriatric Empowerment) had done a marvellous job by organizing quite a few programmes/seminars/talks pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease during the “World Alzheimer’s Month” (WAM) which was kicked off on 7 September 2021 at 8 am at Kadri Park amidst little rain showers and on 22 September the curtain came down once again at Kadri Park – Mangaluru at 4 pm to say “Adios” to the unique and prestigious ‘WAM’, but due to the pandemic the programme was a low-key affair, unlike every year the glittering valedictory function ends with the large group of old-timers and young joining in the fun, dance and singing.
Bad sadly, everyone missed the presence of Dr Olinda Pereira-the Director of Vishwas Trust for the elderly, Mangaluru; Founder Principal of Roshni Nilaya School of Social Work, Mangaluru and who was the then dynamic President of PAGE, who expired on 31 May 2020, at the age of 95. The finale was short and sweet, and the Rain Gods were cooperative and merciful until the end – it was nice and bright Wednesday evening, even though the weatherman had predicted heavy rains.

The programme began with a welcome address by Dr Prabha Adhikari M R, the Vice President of PAGE, who 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. More than pills, the elderly need to improve their quality of life. The digital media has come as a boon and many activities for the elderly people are conducted online.”

“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. Thanks for your continued support during this Alzheimer’s Month, and we look forward to continued support in our future ventures” added Dr Prabha Adhikari, who also briefed about the significance of World Alzheimer’s Day.

The programme was inaugurated by releasing red and purple coloured balloons in the air by the dignitaries of the day, namely – Prithviraj G Vernekar-Senior Civil Judge & Member Secretary District Legal Services Authority, Mangaluru DK; Premanand Shetty-MCC Mayor; Hariram Shanker- DCP (Law & Order), Mangaluru; Dr Satheesh Bhandary- Vice-Chancellor, Nitte (Deemed to be University); Ravishanker Mijar- MUDA Chairman; Dr C V Raghuveer- Former VC Yenepoya (Deemed to be University); Naveen D Padil- Tulu film actor; Ms Evelyn Benis- HoD of MSW, Roshini Nilaya; Dr Prabha Adhikari- Vice President-PAGE; Jerardin D’souza- Secretary-PAGE; Mohan Raj- Jt secretary-PAGE, among others.

Narrating about the story of his paternal grandfather who had dementia for two years and his maternal grandmother who had lived with Dementia for 15 years, DCP Hariram Shanker said, “World Alzheimer’s Day is observed not only to create awareness on Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease but also to acknowledge the sacrifices of caregivers. I have first-hand knowledge of sacrifices by the caregivers of patients with Dementia. During the 15 years when my paternal grandmother had Dementia, there were no vacations, no long trips and attending marriage functions. We should realize that Dementia patients have the right to lead a quality life, and we should respect them with love and care”.

Dr Satheesh Bhandary speaking on the occasion said that nucleus families were contributing to increasing loneliness and depression. MUDA chairman Ravishanker Mijar said that 43 new parks were being developed for the elderly. Actor Naveen Padi;l recollected that earlier patients living with Dementia were chained in dark rooms, but now thanks to PAGE and other NGOs that Dementia patients get good support and care. He also recollected that when he was 25-years-old he had acted as an 85-year-old patient with Dementia in a play. Ms Evelyn Benis appreciated the work done by Çovid Warriors’, like the doctors, nurses, health care staff, police, media, among others, who are playing a vital role during the pandemic. “I commend PAGE and its members for their initiatives and programmes aimed at caring and loving towards Alzheimer’s/Dementia people. Keep up the good work and may God bless you all”, she added, and emotionally remembering late Dr Olinda Pereira said that she was a mentor and guide for many, who had also played an important role in caring for the elders, is sadly missed on this occasion, in which she was very active in the past.

Other dignitaries on the dais also spoke about Dementia and urged the community, especially the youngsters to show love towards the older people, and particularly care for those diagnosed with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s/Dementia. They also complimented PAGE and its members for their concern towards people with Alzheimer’s, and also their unique projects bringing awareness about this disease. The “BIG” Star and “BIG” Man of the event attired in his purple shirt and white coat and his signature hat, Er Jerardin D’souza, as always with some witty punchlines in his gratitude speech appreciated the support shown by the people during the September World Alzheimer’s Month and asked for community support in their forthcoming ventures pertaining to Alzheimer’s/Dementia. Yet another ‘Star Attraction’ of the day was pretty lass Ms Divya Mascarenhas-an interior designer by profession, and guest faculty at Srinivas University, Mangaluru, compered the whole event very meticulously and professionally. The short programme ended with hip-shaking dance by members of the Upasanya Dance Team, choreographed by Mrs Prathiksha Prabhu, and few other cultural acts.

In conclusion, “Every other day, we see news of parents being beaten up by their children, parents and in-laws being forced to do the household chores, being made to live in small dungeon-like rooms, their property being forcefully taken over by over-ambitious children. According to NGOs, incidences of elderly couples being forced to sell their houses are very high. Some elderly people have also complained that in case of a property dispute they feel more helpless when their wives side with their children. Many of them suffer in silence as they fear humiliation or are too scared to speak up. After certain age health problems begin to crop up leading to losing control over one’s body, even not recognizing one’s own family owing to Alzheimer are common in old age. It is then that children began to see their parents as a burden. It is these parents who at times wander out of their homes or are thrown out. Some dump their old parents or grandparents in old-age homes and don’t even come to visit them anymore”.

“Forget the rights that the elderly enjoy in India, including Mangaluru. Just forget about the action that they can take. Think on moral grounds. Why do we tend to forget that the reason we are in this world is our parents, the reason we studied is our parents, the reason we were alive all this while is our parents, the reason we survived all the diseases is our mother’s care. The hands who made us walk are our parents’. When we were kids we never thought of it but we knew that no matter what, our parents will be by our side. But when our time came to show our respect, to reciprocate the love, to show our gratitude, we backed out. But the truth is that even when they are counting their last breath, they are still thinking of us! Is the youth too insensitive to the elder? Passing comments at an old man walking slowly on the road and disturbing the flow of the traffic are our ethics? Come on youth, stand up against such injustice. Do not treat your parents or grandparents like a burden especially when they need you. Love and take care if you come across any people afflicted with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, and make a difference in the community. You can do it we all can do it to make “Mangaluru Dementia Friendly”. Thank You!

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  1. A Great Insightful Article by Dear Alfie, Who is a Part of MAA and PAGE…Always adding his inputs and Always being with the Elders and has played a Motivating Role from the inception of MAA and Later PAGE …..,We Must Appreciate this Gentleman Dear ALFIE , whom I acknowledged in My TALK…of Course has been very Supportive of the Elders….ki JAI HO…

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