Striving for PROGRESS, not perfection

A 74-year-old lady, Mrs Nanda Kiran* was brought to our Centre by her husband and daughter-in-law, with chief complaints of difficulty in swallowing food and water, regurgitating food particles, reduced speech, decreased social interaction, reduced expressions/reactions, reduced interest in activities of daily living and a shuffling gait. She had a past history of Stroke and was a known case of Parkinson’s Disease and Vascular Dementia.
At the Centre, she was observed to refuse food and if insisted upon, her face would convey pain in swallowing. Medical investigations conducted revealed no physiological reasons for pain or regurgitation of food particles. Thus, motivation and distraction techniques were employed to shift her focus from the process of swallowing and increase her food intake. Post meals, she would be engaged in brief time-limited cognitive/motor activities (for e.g. number cancellation/grain segregation tasks, etc.) to keep her occupied and reduce/prevent regurgitation. She was also introduced in various social situations (meeting new people, making requests, etc.). Hints/cues were provided during interactions to aid and increase her participation. The case was incontinent, for which a toilet schedule was created with her being taken to the toilet every 3 hours. Moreover, a daily schedule was created, to provide a sense of order and purpose. Various cognitive, social and recreational based activities were conducted during the day, to stimulate her on different levels. Physiotherapy interventions were introduced for improving her gait pattern and increasing her upper and lower limb strength.
Post interventions, the case was able to eat meals without any difficulty. Her food intake increased, with her weight increasing by 5.5 kgs. She started going for formal dinners and would choose her food of preference. Her interactions improved significantly. She started independently interacting with people of different age-groups. As her interactions increased, so did her reactivity, with her even using humour. Although she couldn’t be taken off diapers permanently, towards her end of time with us, she was able to communicate her need to use the toilet most of the time. She would look forward to attending the Centre and would remind the staff about her daily activities. Post physiotherapy interventions, she resumed her evening walks and occasional dances with her husband, although she needed constant reminders to take longer steps.
The above case highlights the need for more Centres that can provide rehabilitation in a holistic and integrated manner, by offering not just medical but also physical and psychosocial rehabilitation to seniors under one roof. Currently, most places offer medical and physical rehabilitation to seniors, ignoring their and their families’ psychosocial needs. As professionals working in the field of geriatric health, it is important for us to work towards improving the senior’s health in a holistic manner.
*Name changed to maintain confidentiality.
To know more or to visit our Old Age Home and Assisted Living Facility: Email us on hello@src.foundation or call us on +91 8380087027.

It’s a beautiful glass

Ageing is a universal process and truth. From humans and animals to trees and flowers, we all age. However it is our perspective that makes us look at a building, either as a ruin or a heritage site.

Human beings are driven by different purposes at various stages of their life. According to noted Psychologist Erik Erikson, the seniors in their golden years review their lives to find meaning. They assume the role of ‘guru’, who impart their years of wisdom to the next generations. Most of us can recall advises and some important truths of life handed down to us by the elders in our families.

Since elders find meaning in their lives by imparting their hard earned experiential knowledge, younger members of the family should make efforts to include them in the decision making process, and not just tell them the decisions. We need to change our perspective on ageing and the aged. They should be viewed as assets and not as liabilities.

A grandfather settled the age old debate on ‘a glass half full or half empty’ by pointing out to his grandson what was important – the glass being beautiful (Watch the video at https://www.facebook.com/Upworthy/videos/1444564368917750/).

To help families take better care of their elders, SRCF provides several services for the elderly including Day Care services, Home nursing services and Physiotherapy services.
To know more: Email us on hello@src.foundation or call us on +91 9579357008.

Remember Me

Shakespeare once wrote, “What’s in a name?” but Kelly Gunderson would argue against it. Kelly’s 87-year-old mother has Alzheimer’s Disease, a neurodegenerative and progressive condition that affects memory, language and thinking abilities. A video showing her mother recognizing Kelly and calling her name out shows the unadulterated joy that all caregivers and families of Persons with Dementia (PwDs) will relate to (Watch the video and read more at http://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/alzheimers-mother-daughter_n_5752676).

September 21st is celebrated globally as World Alzheimer’s Day, with a mission to increase awareness about the illness, reduce stigma and improve the quality of life for PwDs. This year’s theme for World Alzheimer’s Month is “Remember Me”, an apt theme considering how loved ones and caregivers treasure each and every moment they share with their PwDs.

SRCF understands the value of these memories and attempts to increase these through its Dementia Day Care Centre at Wanowarie. Recreational, Cognitive, and Social activities are designed for the PwDs to stall the progression of the illness so that they can create many more memories with their families.

To know more: Email us on hello@src.foundation or call us on +91 9579357008.

Memories – Return tickets to moments long gone

Memories are a beautiful thing. They let us relive a million feelings, a thousand thoughts, our childhood, and our youth. They are a way for us to hold onto things we love and the things we never want to lose. We are able to remember and cherish most of our ‘firsts’ thanks to them – our first friend, pet, salary, car, love. The day we graduated, got married, had kids, saw them get married, etc., are moments we will cherish till the end. They also help us feel the love and warmth of our dear ones, no longer with us.

These memories, which we consider a blessing and take for granted, are exactly what Persons with Dementia (PwDs) start losing. A neuro-degenerative disease, Dementia affects the memory of the PwDs, robbing them of moments they once held close to their hearts.

The month of September is celebrated globally as ‘World Alzheimer’s Month’ to create awareness in public about Dementia and to fight the stigma related to it. To address these very same issues, SRCF has started an Elder Dementia Day Care Centre at Wanowarie, in Pune.

To know more: Email us on hello@src.foundation or call us on +91 9579357008.

The best thing about Memories is making them

Dr. David Perlmutter, an American Neurologist, has stated Dementia to be our most feared illness, more than heart disease or cancer. This is because Dementia, a neuro-degenerative disease, affects the person’s memory, language and thinking.

The loss of memory coupled with deficits in language and thinking, result in confusion and irritability for the PwD. This is distressing for the PwDs and their caregivers as well. The caregivers find it difficult to communicate and relate to the PwD. But there are a number of ways to engage the PwDs in interactive activities.

Like Simon McDermott found for his father. Ted McDermott, a keen singer and a PwD, is found to come “back in the room”, whenever songs from his era are played. He sings along his favourite songs, and his son accompanies him, enjoying every moment of creating new memories with his father (Read more at – http://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/son-sings-carpool-karaoke-style-with-dad-who-has-alzheimers-for-charity_us_57b205fce4b069e7e506227c).

Different such innovative approaches are employed in our Dementia Day Care Program to increase interaction of the PwDs.

To know more: Email us on hello@src.foundation or call us on +91 9579357008

It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark

Technology, Education and Digital Talks, more commonly known as TED Talks, are famous all over world for their mission of spreading ideas that could change the world. The talks cover almost all the topics under the sun, including Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type.

In June 2012, a fellow TED speaker, Alanna Shaikh, spoke about how she was preparing to get Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). A neurodegenerative disease, AD causes problems in thinking, communication and memory and gradually affects the daily functioning of the individual. Alanna spoke about her father’s 12 year journey with AD, and also spoke about how she plans not to only to prevent herself from getting it, but to go a step further and prepare herself for getting it.

Following leading research, she has started focussing on improving her physical health, to combat gait and mobility issues she could face in the future as a result of AD. She has also started cultivating hands on activities as hobbies (such as knitting and origami) to get her hands familiar to the activities, so that in case she does get AD, she will have hobbies to fall back on and keep herself busy (Read more at https://www.ted.com/talks/alanna_shaikh_how_i_m_preparing_to_get_alzheimer_s?language=en#t-363732).

At our Elder Day Care Centre in Wanowarie, recreational activities and physical therapy activities form 2 of the pillars of our intervention programs designed for our elders with Dementia.

To know more: Email us on hello@src.foundation or call us on +91 9579357008.

Finding new paths

Among the most commonly mentioned symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) besides impairments in memory, language and thoughts, is wandering. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, around 60% of Persons with Disability (PwD) will wander away at one point.

Caregivers usually attempt to manage wandering by following common measures of being extra vigilant, locking doors or employing attendants to keep a watch.

However, in 2014, 15 year old Kenneth Shinozuka, decided to think out of the box to keep his grandfather with AD safe from wandering. He developed a sensor which can be attached to the PwDs sock at night. The sensor works by sending an alert to the caregiver’s phone on sensing any change in pressure. Google Science Fair awarded Kenneth with the Science in Action Award for this invention. (Read more at http://www.upworthy.com/this-teen-came-up-with-a-wildly-smart-invention-to-help-his-grandpa-cope-with-alzheimers).

Research has also found daily structured activities to reduce aimless wandering and restlessness among PwDs, and an improved night time sleep. Combining these research findings with technological advancements can help caregivers better manage their PwDs.

To know more: Email us on hello@src.foundation or call us on +91 9579357008.

Caring for the Caregivers

The effects of Dementia is akin to throwing a stone in water. Just like the stone disturbs the surrounding water, a diagnosis of Dementia affects not only the individual but also their families. The families gradually essay the role of caregivers and make a number of adjustments to their schedules in order to provide for Persons with Dementia. However, more often than not, the caregivers’ work is not acknowledged. They receive poor support from society, and are usually judged instead.

This lack of support has far-reaching effects on the caregivers’ physical, psychological and social health. Most caregivers report low mood, anxious thoughts and stress, due to the high care demands placed on them. Recently an 87 year old senior killed his 81 year old wife suffering from Dementia, in the United Kingdom (Read more at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/05/one-armed-pensioner-shot-wife-with-dementia-to-end-suffering-cou/). Although an extreme and isolated event, it brings to attention the need to support caregivers in their uphill task.

At our Elder Day Care Centre, monthly sessions are held with the caregivers to address their needs, and to assist them in supporting their loved one.

To know more: Email us on hello@src.foundation or call us on +91 9579357008

Physiotherapy Day Care Program for special children

SRCF’s youngest beneficiary is a much adored 2.5 year old boy with Flaccid Cerebral Palsy and developmental delay. His parents enrolled him in our Physiotherapy Day Care program 2 months back. At that time he was unable to hold his head steady due to weakness in the neck muscles (Grade + 1). In addition, both his upper and lower limbs were also weak (Grade + 2).

Our team of experienced physiotherapists developed a therapy plan for him, with a blend of Stroking techniques, Myotherapy, strengthening exercises for the core muscles as well as bilateral upper and lower limbs, and proper body positioning strategies.

Currently, he is able to hold his head steady, maintain sitting position with support and has recently started standing with orthotics support, much to the delight of his parents and our in-house treatment team.

At SRCF, it is our constant endeavour to develop effective care and rehabilitation programs. The Physiotherapy Day Care Program for special children is one such initiative.

To know more: Email us on hello@src.foundation or call us on +91 8380087035.

Smiles, laughter, fun and Djembes

Continuing with the monthly community activities, Team SRCF in collaboration with Taal Inc., conducted a Community Drum Circle for senior citizens on Saturday, 4th June.

The seniors’ were initially worried about never having played a musical instrument before and although excited, they were unsure about performing a new activity. But this worry and hesitation was quickly and expertly dispelled by the charming Anshu Kering, the Drum Circle facilitator for the evening. The senior’s took to her delightful manner, and once the ice was broken all that followed was music.

The seniors took to their djembes enthusiastically, following instructions with wide smiles across their faces, and giggles and laughter as companions. Their enthusiasm, vigour and enjoyment reaffirmed our faith in our work, and strengthened our resolve to bring more such interesting activities for our seniors.

To know more: Email us on hello@src.foundation or call us on +91 9579357008.