Let's talk about dementia to understand and encourage openness

World Alzheimer’s Day is observed on September 21 every year to raise the awareness about Alzheimer’s and Dementia. This day is celebrated for generating awareness and due to the seriousness of this disease, it is celebrated for the whole month in some countries. 

Let's talk about dementia to understand and encourage openness

The theme for the year 2020 is ‘Let’s talk about dementia’.
Talking about dementia, Dr Rajnish Kumar, Senior Consultant & Unit Head- Neurology, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram said, As dementia is the theme of World Alzheimer’s month, it has become crucial that people should understand and encourage openness and discussion on dementia.

According to Lancet’s study, risk factors for dementia over a lifetime include early-life education, hypertension, hearing impairment, obesity, smoking, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, and social isolation.

He added, “Individualising dementia care, providing support for family members, protecting people with dementia, and planning for the future, including end of life care, are all important aspects to be considered. We need to have curative treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

It has been seen that early diagnosis and timely care of such disease can improve a patient’s condition. The best possible care can only be achieved through discussion, destigmatisation, early diagnosis, and putting the needs of the patient and family first.”

Stressing on the importance of providing support and reaching out to the dementia patients especially amid lockdown, Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals said,

“seniors suffering from dementia are going to hit the hardest by the lockdown. If you have someone in your family who is suffering from dementia or know someone in your neighbourhood who is struggling with the condition, make sure you reach out to them. A lot of them use adult daycare, which will not be available during the lockdown.”

“Support groups they attend to cope with the condition will not be in session either. These services are essential for them, and their unavailability will only add to their stress. Set up a video or phone conferencing with care partners who can help them come up with coping strategies.

The coming days are going to be difficult for all of us and we need to stand together during these testing times,” added Dr Bajaj.
Talking about the necessity of clear communication and effective collaboration with the seniors, he said,

“Seniors should be given all the support they need, and the aforementioned ideas are just a starting point. You can engage in discussions with your family and neighbours to come up with your own action plan. Through clear communication and effective collaboration, we can prevent the lockdown from taking a toll on the physical and mental health of seniors.”

Dr Apurva Sharma, Consultant-Neurology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Palam Vihar Gurgaon said, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that leads to degeneration of brain cells serving memory, navigation, language, attention and ability to plan.

Caregivers find it difficult and stressful to manage needs and provide quality life to the person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

COVID era has seen unanticipated difficulties in diagnosis with limited or no physical assessment of elderly sufferers, fear of sharing public space, health setups, follow-ups and monitoring.

Pay cuts, lost jobs and mental uneasiness has burdened the heavily obliged caregivers. The inability of the sufferers to keep understanding, follow the rules of distancing and hygiene make them more vulnerable to the condition.

Considering the costs and course of the illness especially amongst the elderly, let’s be wise and take every precaution to avoid transmitting the disease largely in the society and also the places where they are being cared for, ” added Dr Sharma. (ANI)

Originally published at Business world