An Interactive session on the topic "Dementia:Living Together"

Inspired by the theme of this year's World Alzheimer's Month, the Caregivers Meeting was made an interactive session centered on the topic "Dementia: Living Together". The meeting has begun with a welcome note by Ms. Bala Tripura Sundari, the Joint Secretary of ARDSI-Hyd-Deccan and was followed by screening of a short-film on
dementia- "Burden of Love". Ms. Bala gave a brief introduction on the topic of the meeting initiating the interactive session where the caregivers shared their experiences voluntarily.

One of the caregiver shared her experiences on how her husband went missing and was found again with the help of ARDSI-Hyd-Deccan members and how much trust she has in the organization. Mr. Shashidhar, Treasurer of ARDSI, had then explained why it is important to share with neighbors and family about the disease of the family member and how it would be useful in certain situations otherwise which the consequence could be that the person is lost. This had triggered off a discussion on advantages of sharing of personal issues like dementia with neighbors, social stigma attached to it and apprehension on societal reaction.

This was followed by addressing the queries of caregivers by Mr. Shashidhar and Ms. Bala who also empathized with the participants and strongly emphasized on sharing the situation of the family member with others in the society and its advantages. The interactive session was then concluded noting that some awareness about dementia in the society and public servants like police would help reduce stigma attached to it and finding such people would be easier when lost.

"Twelve Steps for Caregivers", a special edition bookmark for the year
2012 was read out by the caregivers one each which goes as follows:

  1. Although I cannot control the disease process, I need to remember I can control many aspects of how it affects my relative.
  2. I need to take care of myself, so that I can continue doing the things that are most important.
  3. I need to simplify my lifestyle so that my time and energy are available for things that are really important at this time.
  4. I need to cultivate the gift of allowing others to help me because caring for my relative is too big a job to be done by one person.
  5. I need to take one day at a time rather than worry about what may or may not happen in the future.
  6. I need to structure my day because a consistent schedule makes life easier for me and my relative.
  7. I need to have a sense of humour because laughter helps to put things in a more positive perspective.
  8. I need to remember that my relative is not being difficult on purpose; rather that his behavior and emotions are distorted by the illness.
  9. I need to focus on and enjoy what my relative can still do rather than constantly lament over what is gone.
  10. I need to 10 reasingly depend upon other relationships for love and support.
  11. I need to frequently remind myself that I am doing the best that I can at this very moment.
  12. I need to draw upon the Higher Power, which I believe is available to me.

The Caregivers Meeting was then ended with a Thank you note by Ms. Bala.

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