Senior Citizens: Silent spectators vs. Active participants

Doing things for others always brings us pleasure. But it is even more gratifying when our efforts are recognized and people approach us to organize events for them. After attending last month’s Drum Circle event, which received a great response from the participants, a member of the Senior Citizen Association of Salisbury Park, approached Team SRCF to conduct a similar event for their members. Doctors from the Pune Adventist Hospital also attended the event and were active participants of this spirited group.

Like last month’s Drum Circle all seniors, barring one, had no experience with Drums. However that did not stop them from being eager and active participants. Our partner for Drum Circle events, Taal Inc., conducted another wonderful session. The participants were attentive and charged, and didn’t miss a beat making us at SRCF wonder why the usual events for seniors were limited to meditation, yoga and lectures.

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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

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.

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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 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.

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