General Awareness at Aakar Asha

Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) – Hyderabad Deccan was invited to speak on "Memory and Healthy Ageing" on December 3, 2013 Tuesday, 11:30 AM – 12.30PM, at Aakar Asha Enablement Center for Physically Disabled, Shivananda Rehabilitation Home Complex, Kukatpally.

The session was attended by 20 participants, commenced with a warm welcome from Dr. Patri (CEO Akar Asha), who spoke of the importance of awareness on health issues amongst the elderly. He also gave briefing about the Aakar Asha activities. After which Mr. Panduranga Rao (ARDSI volunteer) introduced Mr. Shashidhar to speak on Dementia.

Mr. Shashidhar (Treasurer – ARDSI Hyd Deccan Chapter) started the session by speaking about relation between Alzheimer's and dementia. He gave several examples and then spoke briefly about the causes of dementia, signs and symptoms of dementia and highlighted the difference between dementia and normal forgetfulness and the various types. He addressed concerns of senior citizens by explaining the differences between normal and abnormal forgetfulness, and early signs of dementia.

Risk factors in dementia can be reduced by maintaining healthy life style importance of a healthy, low carbohydrate diet, low-fat and vitamin B12 rich diet and high vegetable intake to reduce the risk of dementia; an interactive discussion began about the importance of exercise, music, meditation and yoga, playing games, learning new language/s or skills and reading to keep oneself occupied and engaged mentally and physically. He also explained that bilingualism (Speaking, reading, writing more than one language) helped delay onset of Dementia in the elders. Music therapy was also discussed and he encouraged the audience to sing or hum songs as stimulation for the brain.

Mr. Shashidhar then discussed general risk factors associated with Dementia and spoke of the importance of being aware and managing factors such as Hypertension, Diabetes, mineral and vitamin deficiencies, etc. If the causative factors contributing to stroke are managed well and the individual leads a healthy and active life (avoid Gutkha, smoking, Alcohol), Vascular Dementia could be avoided to a large extent.
Dr. Phani Sree (Geriatric Medicine - Aakar Asha) stressed the importance of awareness and healthy lifestyle; she also spoke of reversible and irreversible causes of dementia.

Dr Bhartendu Swain – MD of the Akar Asha hospital spoke of partnering with agencies such as ARDSI Hyderabad Deccan, especially in areas such as training of nurses, attendants and medical staff on aspects of dementia care and its management.
The session ended with a vote of thanks by Mr Panduranga Rao and a visit to the hospital facilities.