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What one needs to know about Dementia

Apeejay Stya University conducts a webinar on ‘Alzheimers and Related Disorders: Dissecting a Growing Concern For Quality Life’

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According to the report published by Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) – Cochin Chapter with academic support from Kerala University of Health Sciences on ‘Dementia in India 2020’, there have been around 5 million people with dementia in India and many more are at a high risk of developing this condition with no cure. In fact, as India’s population ages, the number of people with dementia and Alzheimer’s is set to rise to 7.6 million by 2030. And this is a rising concern. 

Therefore aiming to increase awareness about dementia and brainstorm strategies to reduce risk,  School of Education, National Service Scheme (NSS) and Rotaract Club of Apeejay Stya University, Gurugram in association with ARDSI organised a virtual session titled  ‘Alzheimers and Related Disorders: Dissecting a Growing Concern For Quality Life’. Ms Ashly Jacob from ARDSI was the guest speaker at the webinar. 

Ms Jacob began her address to students by introducing the meaning of dementia which is defined as a group of symptoms that include loss of cognitive functioning. She further explains how loss of cognitive functioning leaves an impact on a person’s thinking, memory, language skills, attention, concentration  and normal behaviour. And one of the common forms of dementia is Alzheimer’s Disease.

Around 45 participants attended the virtual awareness session. They were further enlightened about the stages of dementia, various risk factors for it and the difference between normal aging and early signs of dementia. 

Stages Of Dementia 

There is a wide variation in how dementia progresses from person to person. Therefore, based on the type of dementia, the progression of dementia takes place usually via three stages, from mild to moderate to severe.  

Risk Factors For Dementia 

Even though everyone has a chance of developing dementia, some people have a greater chance than others. These people are at a ‘higher risk’. Some of the factors that can lead to dementia include age over 65, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, stroke, head injury, genetic or family history, diabetes, etc. 

Difference Between Dementia and Normal Aging 

Further, Ms Jacob pointed out how to differentiate between normal aging and early signs of dementia. For instance, in normal aging forgetting names of people they rarely see is common but forgetting the names of people close to them is a matter of concern. Unpredictable mood changes or forgetting things more often than they used to are signs of dementia.   

Prevention

She also says, “The only way to tackle dementia is with effective care and communication. If you are taking care of someone suffering from dementia, one of the ways is to acknowledge his/her feelings. Have the patience to speak and listen to him/her. Use visual cues to communicate with the person. These steps create a lot of impact.”

“In fact, involving them in different activities like newspaper reading, quiz, painting exercises, dancing are some of the ways to reduce further risk,” she added. 

Subsequently, she emphasised on the importance of mental status examination. “It is required to assess depression, hallucinations, delusions, etc. Also, the role of the society is to spread the right information about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease to the public and eliminate social stigma.” 

The session concluded with a Q&A round.

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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