January Caregiver's meeting

Ms Sonal, speech therapist at Yashodha hospital, explained oromotor exercises and underlined their importance in improving speech phonation and reducing swallowing problems. She also mentioned that muscle strenthening exercises like labial[lip], lingual[tongue] and cutral or vocal[throat] can be done in order to facilitate adequate and appropriate articulation and resonance an safe swallowing of food. She also explained symptoms of aspiration and use of chin tuck to reduce choking and sitting upright position.Some of the questions raised included - at what stage of dementia do swallowing and language problems occur and whether the exercises can be son even if problems aren't observed. Ms. Sonal mentioned that generally the problems occur at late-moderate or advanced stages in Alz but can show up early in FTD. The exercises promote oral articulatory agility and hence are safe to be practiced even prior to onset of the swallowing problems.

Ms Sirisha, Psychologist at NIMS Memory clinic started with a group exercise that demonstrated the satisfaction of acheiving something, regardless of whether the achievement was big or small. She also focused on providing the right kind of support by allowing patients independence, involving persons with dementia in activities, and providing everyday choices to them.

Several members of the audience were able to relate to the issues discussed in the topic and provided examples of caregiving techniques used to overcome difficult situations.

Discussion and Questions included - whether patients do have the power to choose, whether choices can be comprehended and can medicines increase memory or prevent onset of disease. The technique of simplifying choices by providing only 2 choices can be used, mental exercises, physial exercise are quoted as preventive mechanisms.

The meeting concluded with unanimous appreciation from the audience side in response to the talks.