The caregivers’ meeting on 9 May 2009 was organised on the topic ‘What is dementia’, a talk by Dr. Suvarna Alladi, Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, NIMS. It was attended by eight caregivers from families of persons with Dementia. Dr. Alladi spoke about what exactly happens in the brain when someone is afflicted with a dementia. She also elaborated on issues related to normal forgetfulness vs. dementia and that different types of dementia are manifested in different ways. Although alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia, there are also other types. She gave statistics about prevalence of Dementia, caregivers of persons with Dementia, and projected prevalence of Dementia all over the world with special focus on the Indian scenario. Management of persons with Dementia was also elaborated upon. She spoke about why it is important to keep a persons with Dementia busy in activities that they like; involve them with grandchildren; spending quality time with family; how to deal with behavioral issues etc.
Caregivers shared their experiences with their loved ones and especially stressed upon how persons with Dementia must be supervised. From the experiences shared, volunteers of ARDSI realised that awareness programmes about the disease also need to be conducted at public places and organisations such as exhibitions, traffic police, police department, for RTC bus drivers etc. This was because if a person with Dementia has lost his or her way, then it would become very important for people working in these organisations/places to deal with the patients appropriately. Other caregivers were concerned about what activities need to be done to keep persons with Dementia busy. They were given relevant ideas for the same. Some homevisits were scheduled to help out caregivers. It was a very interactive and productive meeting between the caregivers and volunteers of ARDSI.