Counselors form support base
Mumbai: It is a nightmarish existence: you forget your past, don’t recognise your loved ones and can’t communicate your thoughts. Alzheimer’s, previously dismissed as mere forgetfulness caused by old age, is slowly being recognized as a serious problem with the mushrooming of support cells, counseling centers and a day care center over the past year.
Mumbaikars have strongly endorsed the ‘We can make a difference’ theme as they approach yet another World Alzheimer’s Day on Wednesday. Alzheimer’s—a progressive and irreversible neurological disorder—has afflicted nearly 18 million aged persons worldwide.
With zero cure, it is often a more trying experience for relatives than for sufferers. “We went through a tough phase when my mother began forgetting things and had difficulty even in recognizing us,’’ said Hoofers Wada, a Marine Lines resident, recalling her mother’s degeneration four years ago. “It was a trying experience as she began living in a world of her own and demanding more attention. It was almost like living with a child,’’ she added.
Wada's worries were alleviated when a support group instituted at Gammadion Road last year, enabled her to share her experience with other Mumbaikars in a similar plight. She learnt of others who were coping with patients who had turned aggressive or wandered aimlessly.
“There has been an improvement in the management of Alzheimer’s as we can at least identify an Alzheimer’s case and counsel relatives on how to deal with them,’’ said Dr Shirring Boardwalk, who has 76 caregivers enrolled at the center run by the Alzheimer’s and Related Disorder Society of India in I I Hospital.
“Patient care in a day care center is easier as they get together, listen to music and are always attended to,’’ said Sheilu Sreenivasan, president of Dignity Foundation, a voluntary organization that runs the city’s only day care center for Alzheimer’s patients. They are also launching a ‘memory gym’ on Wednesday, to test patients’ memory and conduct mental exercises that will help doctors to detect early signs of degeneration.
Publication: Times Of India Mumbai; Date: Sep 21, 2005;
Section: Times City
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