November 23, 2010
Dept of Social Work, Amritapuri
In this modern age we are all busy. Our schedules are full and we have commitments to keep. In just one day it’s hard to get everything done and often we don’t. In the process of meeting our daily demands, sometimes we forget things along the way. We misplace glasses and keys and forget appointments and birthdays. Forgetfulness for the most part is normal, but sometimes it’s an early sign of something serious, like dementia.
Dementia is the progressive deterioration of cognitive abilities such as memory, perception, judgment and reasoning. A normal condition of the aging mind, it rarely strikes before the age of 60. It starts with memory loss that slowly worsens over time. In the later stages, there is severe disorientation of time, place and impaired recognition of loved ones. Finally, unable to meet personal needs like eating and drinking, people with dementia require 24-hour care.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. It’s estimated that one in ten people over the age of 65 have it.
On World Alzheimer’s Day, September 21, 2010, students and staff from the Department of Social Work at Amritapuri participated in a Memory Walk in Kochi.
The event, hosted by ARDSI, the Alzheimer’s & Related Disorders Society of India, was inaugurated by film star Captain Raju, and attracted more than 1000 participants.
An umbrella organization of the National Alzheimer’s Association, ARDSI strives to increase public awareness about the disease. It also aims to improve the quality of life for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as their care givers.
Last year, students from this Department at Amritapuri, had visited 12 Alzheimer patients at a home for the aged in Palarivattom. Inspired by the experience, two students had begun a study on the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in urban populations.
Two other MSW students had completed their final block placement at ARDSI, Kochi.
“The main objective of the internship was to increase the students’ understanding about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” commented Dr. Sunil D. Santha, Chairperson of the Department of Social Work.
By 2025, it’s predicted that 75% of the world’s dementia population will come from developing countries.
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham is busy, but it doesn’t forget anything. At the end of the day, its students will be prepared to meet the demands of the future, compassionately able to reach out to those in need.