In a quiet, sun dappled corner of Banjara Hills, Lamakaan, an open cultural space, with a commitment to being open and accessible, provided an apt setting for “Remembering Yesterday, Caring Today” - a Half-Day Workshop on Reminiscence Therapy, organized, on October 3, Sunday, 9:30 AM – 1 PM, by The Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) – Hyderabad Deccan . The workshop was conducted by an internationally renowned expert, Mrs. Pamela Schweitzer,Director European Reminiscence Network.
Dr Chandrasekhar,Vice-President, ARDSI Hyd Deccan introduced Pam Schweitzer. Ms Bala and Ms Aparajitha Bhattacharya, joint secretaries of ARDSI Hyd Deccan welcomed Pam and Mr. Alex Schweitzer with the bouquets.
Pam started with a power point presenatation on reminiscence in dementia care, giving a sense of how reminiscence can be used to greatly improve their quality of life. Reminiscence reduces carer burden, increase autobiographical memory and improve a people’s sense of identity. She showed different slides covering the pictures of young artists communicating with old generations, incidents in dementia person’s life, their memory boxes and also group exercises.
Later, she played a DVD showing reminiscence sessions in action in London with families living with dementia, covering the descriptions of activities that can be used in a group setting, for one-to-one reminiscence at home or in a variety of care settings. The DVD was very interesting and entertaining, leaving the audience with lot of new ideas to involve with the patients.
An explanation of the Memory Boxes was given with two very short DVDs showing the project in process and some of the results. The entire process of creating a Memory Boxes that captures the unique life-story of the person with dementia is a truly lateral-way for the carer to re-bond with the patient and makes the entire process of caregiving a fulfilling experience.
Mr Alex Schweitzer, an architect and an active volunteer on the reminiscence in dementia care project since the beginning shared his experiences. Highlights of his talk include - use of sensory stimulation- encouraging persons with dementia to touch, feel, smell objects to stimulate autobiographical memories, giving enough time to receive a response from the patient, (a practical tip being counting to 20), and magnifying pictures to highlight details that may elicit verbal responses.
The work-shop was a stimulating and unique experience for the participants. The session was very lively, and Pam's use of anecdotes from real-life situations simplified the understanding of reminiscence.
Mr Shashidhar, treasurer, ARDSI Hyd Deccan gave a vote of thanks to both the speakers and also Lamakaan for hosting the event.