By Subir Chowdhury Neucrad Health India, April 19, 2019
People face some common ailments as they grow, some face issues with eye sight , some get tooth ache and some experiences issues with hearing and so on and they consult specialists to get relief from these troubles . Specialists advise them and prescribe medicines for some time and they get relief from their ailments within a couple of days and start their day to day activities on their own.
But the real problem starts when older people , who all of a sudden forget to perform their day to day normal activities one day , yes I am talking about loss of memory in old people . For the first few days, people who started suffering from this disease don’t realize what has happened to them for the first few days , others in the house particularly their partners first notice such irregularities. Children who are staying with their parents also understand that something has happened to their father or mother.
For example someone takes his own and his wife’s medicines daily at the breakfast table , one day wife notices that her husband has forgotten to take the medicines . When she reminds her husband regarding medicines, the husband says, “oh my god, I have forgotten!”. If it happens for a day or two , it is okay but if it continues everyday then it can be assumed that that person is now a victim of loss of memory. Doctors term this disease Dementia and to common people it is a disease related to loss of memory . When someone suffers from this disease , his memory , sanity and personality gradually fades away . Normally aged people suffer from this disease and all of a sudden one day lose their habit of performing day to day activities and members of the household notice some abnormalities in his behavior . Doctors say when people become older , number of cells in brain reduces at a particular rate and old age problem and related ailments of human bodies affect their brain. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease which affects human brain and body very slowly .
Due to forgetfulness, people also suffer from various ailments like depression , disturbance in sleep and other related problems and lose their own confidence and gradually becomes dependent on others. Doctors think that there are many reasons of this disease, some are AIDS , habit of smoking for a very long time , deficiency of vitamin D , reckless lifestyle or any kind of injury to the head. When someone in the house is diagnosed with this disease he should immediately consult specialists for treatment. As per advice of doctors and after taking medicines and maintaining healthy life style, the condition of the patient improves , they gain confidence and slowly regain normalcy in life. In the house of patient, no one should neglect or misbehave with the person but should take additional care of him and give company as far as practicable . If severity of the disease increases and the condition of the patient deteriorates, then the chances of recovery will be remote .
In our society awareness regarding Dementia and Alzheimer diseases are very less and it is taken for granted that forgetfulness will be there when people become old . Now some medicines have been discovered for these diseases which are available in the market and as per advice of doctor if taken regularly the severity of disease will be under control. However , if only patients with advanced stage of the disease are brought to doctors nothing can be done . Few days ago I came to know that one of my niece , about 40 years old experienced temporary forgetfulness . She completed fashion technology course from NIFT , Mumbai and is rendering her consultancy services to celebrities and is very busy there . One morning , she came down from her three storied flat to the ground floor to go to office and handed over key of her car to driver for taking out car from garage but then called a Uber Taxi from her mobile and rushed to office. AS soon as I got the information , I talked to her and requested her to consult a doctor who specializes in in Neuro medicine to inquire the reason for this incident and take advice of doctor if such a situation arises again .
Recently I have come to Canberra with my wife to visit our son . One day I was going through an article in a magazine of Engineers Australia where I found that Australian scientists after research have developed some animal robots like dog and cat which are used by the Dementia patients living in aged care units. When such patients keep pet robots with them , they think that someone is with them and feel less lonely and thereby gain confidence . But using animal robot is quiet expensive and only affluent patients can afford them , normally services of male or female nurses trained in handling dementia patient are utilized.
Symptoms of dementia are hardly noticed beforehand and all of a sudden aged people notice that they have started suffering from the disease . In Canberra our neighbor is an elderly couple . The husband was with the Australian Federal police (AFP) and recently after retirement stays at home. We find the wife busy every morning in the garden , watering the plants and sometime mowing the lawn . We see his husband sitting on a chair in the lawn holding a can of drink in his hand . One morning I saw her wife standing in front of door of their house with an anxious face , I asked her what has happened ? She replied that she cannot find her husband in the house , about 3 hours later she found him sitting on a bench in a nearby park and she took him to house. Either he could not locate his house or forgot to return . He was taken to hospital and doctor has confirmed that he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease . Now he is under treatment and his wife alone has to keep eye on him as their children are not staying with them .
Few years ago in Kolkata , India we read in news paper that a renowned Rabindra sangeet singer Sri Ashoktaru Bandppadhyay was found missing from his house in Kolkata and after about 15 days he returned , perhaps he was also a victim of Alzheimer disease,
When children grow up they go for higher studies and after getting suitable job they normally settle in other states or countries leaving their parents . In such cases the aged father and mother stay in their house and they look after themselves. In case one of them become sick , other looks after and real problem starts in case both of them are unwell when there is none to look after them. Aged people suffer from loneliness and doctors advise such aged people to have some hobby . I know some senior citizens in Kolkata who regularly solve cross word puzzles and sudoku to spend time and keep their brain busy. Some keeps themselves busy by reading books and listening to songs of their choice . In Kolkata near to my house in Tala park , I see aged people playing cards in groups sitting on mat spending their spare time as well as keeping themselves busy . In the same park I also find senior citizens in groups walking in the morning and evening and after their walk they sit on benches of a tea stall and sip tea and go through the day’s news papers . These groups of aged people also celebrate Rabindra Jayanti , New Year and distribute sweets . Some aged people in our locality also joined such groups and take active part in various activities which keep them busy . In case of illness fellow members come forward to help each other and some of them are relieved of loneliness , thereby keeping the disease of forgetfulness away .
Few days ago I found in Face Book that some senior citizens have made a group comprising of aged people who are staying either alone or with their wives in Kolkata. The intention of this group is to help members in days of crisis so that they feel they are not alone. This is a very good effort and I hope lot of aged people living alone in their houses will be benefit from this effort . Some aged people after retirement join Rotary , Lions or Inner wheel ( for ladies ) clubs or some other clubs to keep busy in various social services . They move in a group to attend meetings , outings or social work in various parts of the country. As a result , aged people feel secured as fellow members are also travelling with them . One of my uncles joined a library as a librarian in his locality after his retirement and continued to spend the evening this way till he was eighty years old. My own brother in law after his retirement from banking service twelve years ago , joined Lions Club , Jhumri Telaiya Branch in Jharkhand and is a very active member of this club . In 2003 he became President of the club for two consecutive terms and is busy throughout the year doing some social work in nearby area and attends various meetings while travelling with his fellow members. Thus he never feels companionless and In this way he keeps himself busy and active .
Another cousin of mine who is 87 years old and his wife is 79 after his retirement from Fort Gloster cable factory , at Bauria , Howrah lives at Shrirampur , Hooghly . He keeps himself busy and active by travelling almost throughout the year. A short description of his recent tours in last five months will clarify the extent of his travel at this age . Last year in first week of November he with his wife went to their grand daughter in Delhi and after three days’ stay there , went to Rudraprayag , Uttarakhand in extreme cold weather . They stayed there for seven days and visited local temples and religious places and returned to their residence at Shrirampur. In first week of December he along my younger brother went to a short trip to Hazaribagh and Koderma and spent four days there . He returned to his house and after taking seven days rest went for a one day trip to Deulti on the bank of Rupnarayan river in a car with one of his neighbors and his own nephew . There they visited house of renowned Bengali novel writer Sri Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay in a village called Panitras and returned to house on the same day .
In January he went to Sonpur , Bihar on the confluence of river Ganges and Gandak to witness the famous cattle fair and stayed there for three days. In February he with his family went to his ancestral house at Begampur , Hooghly to witness a local annual puja and festival and stayed there for four days with his relatives . On 21st March before the Holi festival he hired a cab and took his family to Digha and Mondarmoni trip and stayed for four days . Once I told my brother if he was fitted wheels on his legs otherwise how it was possible for a Senior Citizen who is 87 years old to travel so frequently. He replied that he keeps himself active and busy with his hobby of travelling.
I share these experiences with my friends who will go through similar events of some of my relatives who are all above 70 years and how they keep themselves busy and active . These are examples of how senior citizens will keep themselves busy when they grew old and remain happy and mentally fit to perform their day to day activities.
Meet with the author
Subir Chowdhury, 71 years old retired civil engineer.
He is a blogger. His own blog site is subirsblog889792471.wordpress.com
He has visited so many countries including Australia and New Zealand.