On 18 April 2010, an awareness program was held for the walker’s association of Jalagam Vengala Rao Park at Banjara Hills and attended by Dr. Suvarna Alladi, Rukhsana Ansari and Vani Rupela. It was attended by around 45 walkers that included senior citizens as well as younger people that joined in as the talk was going on. The talk started early in the morning with Mr. P. M. Menon, Vice President of the walkers’ association introducing the speakers. Dr. Suvarna gave an overview to the audience regarding ‘what is dementia’. She spoke about the incidence of dementia and using practical examples, the problems faced by persons with dementia, progression of the disease and importance of early identification and intervention. She addressed concerns of senior citizens by explaining the differences between normal and abnormal forgetfulness, and early signs of dementia. She also emphasized on the strain that caregivers face and how the disease needs to be managed with a combined approach using pharmacological interventions and caregiver support.
Rukhsana Ansari then spoke about ARDSI as a national organization, its inception and the role it has played both at the government sector and in the society at large. She highlighted ARDSI’s achievements over the years and also spoke about how the Hyderabad Deccan chapter came into being. She 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. She then highlighted the activities that included conducting monthly caregiver meetings, training programs, counselling sessions, memory walk, and running an activity centre for persons with dementia. She invited the audience to join the memory walk this year and actively participate in whatever way they could with ARDSI, Hyderabad Deccan.
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 alleviated by Dr Suvarna as well as the pro-active audience in a humour-filled manner. Brochures, pamphlets and informative material regarding dementia, normal forgetfulness and aging were also distributed. Dr. Ramana Reddy, President of the walkers’ association thanked the speakers and gave them mementoes. This was followed by a sumptuous breakfast during which many from the audience expressed interest in becoming members of the organization and helping in organizing awareness programs at their localities.