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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Watch HBO “The Alzheimer’s Project” Screening 10th May 2009

Watch “The Alzheimer’s Project” to take a look at the faces behind the disease – and the forces leading us toward a cure. May 10th 2009 onward.

This May, tune into “The Alzheimer’s Project,” HBO's multi-platform series that examines groundbreaking Alzheimer discoveries made by the country’s leading scientists and the effects this debilitating and fatal disease has on those with Alzheimer’s and their families.

Air dates and times
Sunday, May 10 at 9 p.m. EST – “The Memory Loss Tapes”
“The Memory Loss Tapes” takes an intimate look at seven individuals living with Alzheimer’s, seeking to introduce a new understanding by sharing the devastating experience of memory loss from the point of view of the person with the disease.

Monday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. EST – “Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am? With Maria Shriver” and “Momentum in Science, Part 1”

“Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am? With Maria Shriver” is a is geared toward children and young teens coping with a grandparent’s illness, and presents vignettes that can help a child understand and deal with a relative’s gradual decline into Alzheimer’s.

“Momentum in Science” is a two-part, state-of-science odyssey that takes viewers inside the laboratories and clinics of 25 leading physicians, revealing some of the most cutting-edge Alzheimer research advances.

Tuesday, May 12 at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. EST – “Caregivers” and “Momentum in Science, Part 2”

“Caregivers” is a collection of five family portraits that illustrate caring for the different stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The evening concludes with “Momentum in Science, Part 2.”

‘The Alzheimer’s Project” is a presentation of HBO Documentary Films and the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health in association with the Alzheimer’s Association, The Fidelity® Charitable Gift Fund and Geoffrey Beene Gives Back® Alzheimer’s Initiative.

Source: http://www.alz.org/news_and_events_16202.asp

Pls spread the word and help us to FIGHT DEMENTIA.

Meeting of Experts from Western India for National Dementia Strategy

A National Dementia Strategy Consultative Meeting of Experts ‘Western India’ was held at the YMCA International, Mumbai Central on 25th & 26th April 2009. The Theme of this meeting was : “INTEGRATED DEMENTIA CARE “ .This meeting of experts was Organized by Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) National Office and Mumbai Chapter in association with Department of Psychiatry, Nair Hospital, Mumbai And Silver Inning Foundation.

This important meet was inaugurated by Chief Guest: Dr. Jairaj Thanekar -Executive Health Officer, Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Guest of Honour: Dr.R.V.Rananavare - Ag.Dean,Nair Hospital.

Dr.Jairaj Thanekar assured to help the cause of Dementia in creating awareness and providing services.

Around 29 multidisciplinary organization and family members participated in this important meet, the list of organization is given below:
All India ARDSI Chapters
Dept of Psychiatry, Nair Hospital
Silver Inning Foundation
Dept of Health , Mumbai Municipal Corporation( BMC)
Geriatric Society of India
Dept of Psychiatry, KEM Hospital
The Family Welfare Agency
Forum for Improving Quality of Life
Jhunjhunwala Foundation
Dept of Nursing, Wockhard Hospital
Tata Trust
Anand Rehabilitation center
Dept of Nursing, Nanavati Hospital
Memory Clinic, Sion Hospital
Memory Clinic, Nair Hospital
S.V.T.College (SNDT Juhu)
Bombay Psychiatrist Society
Elder Helpline, Mumbai Police
Helpage India
Sir Tata Dorabji Trust
Department of Neurology, K.E.M. Hospital
Department of Neurology, Grant medical college
Sir J.J.Group of Hospitals, Mumbai
Dept of Nursing , Holy Family Hospital ,Niagaon
Dept of Nursing , Minatai Nursing College

Dementia is a general term to denote a progressive degenerative disease of the brain resulting in loss of Memory, intellectual decline, behavioural and personality changes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of Dementia. Mostly older people are affected by this condition.

It is estimated that there are more than 28 million people affected by this mind crippling tragedy globally. This number is expected to double by 2025. More than 70% of people with dementia live in developing counties like China and India. Although we don’t have the actual members, it is estimated that there are over 3 million people in India who are victims of dementia. Compared to any other chronic illness, more than the patients, often, it is the family members who bear the brunt of this devastating illness. It is often termed as a cruel disease, because it strips the person of all the skills and intellectual achievement the person has acquired during his life time and leaves the shadow of the person he used to be. The family members often have to watch the deterioration of their loved ones helplessly. Despite the magnitude, there is gross ignorance, and is often neglected in our country.

Many countries in the world have recognized Dementia as a health priority eg. Australia, South Korea. Similarly countries like UK, France have developed National Dementia Strategies. This has resulted in greater recognition, improved awareness and more fund allocation by their governments.

Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) is the first Afro Asian National Alzheimer’s Association to get full membership in Alzheimer’s Disease International the world federation of 74 national Alzheimer’s Associations way back in 1993. ARDSI continues to be in the forefront in raising awareness and providing much needed services to those affected. Taking cues from the countries with better dementia awareness and care, ARDSI has taken the bold initiative to develop a National Dementia Strategy for India. The number of people with dementia in India is expected to double by 2025. There is gross ignorance. Most people with dementia go undetected. There are hardly any service available. Research in this area is scanty.

The aim of the National consultative meetings are to explore, discuss and share views on how to develop a National Dementia Strategy for India. This will be a road map for the country for the next five years in Dementia care. The first meeting was held in Jamia Millia, New Delhi on 30th-31st Jan 2009. The meeting in Mumbai is to get the views of the experts from the Western region. Similar meetings shall be held in other parts of the country, drawing experts from medical, nursing, social work, legal, media and governmental agencies. A final meeting shall be held in New Delhi by the end of 2009 to draw a national plan. Raising awareness, promote early diagnosis and provide effective management shall be the key areas, the Strategy shall be based up on. Final document shall be used to influence the government of India and state governments to include dementia in all the key Ministries of health, social welfare, science and technology’s, programmes. We hope to work towards making dementia a health priority in the country in the coming years.

The below are some of the points discussed in the meeting that needs to be a part of the National Dementia Strategy. The points have been categorized under various headings, with each topic in a different page.

1. Improve awareness/ Advocacy
Improved public and professional Awareness of dementia among GPs, healthcare skilled/semi-skilled professionals (nursing, physiotherapists, SLPs), healthcare policy makers and media resulting in better understanding of the disease and its care.
Mobilize support from government, foundations, public and private sector organizations, and philanthropists
Generate interest in students and younger faculty members to contribute time and services, as a society that does not provide necessary social services to its members is doomed to fail.
§ Type of messages
o Simple messages on Alzheimer's Disease
o The awareness should focus on different components such as diagnosis, treatment etc
§ Where the messages should be given
o Make use of as many media as possible
o Public - National Social Service (NSS) of Universities, all service organizations, senior citizen forums, police, bar associations, schools and colleges, local self governments, NRHM, social work colleges, management institutes
o Media – documentaries in theatres, street theatre, TV, newspaper, FM radio. Use print and electronic media, public hoardings in PHCs and hospitals,
o Include dementia in as many public awareness programs as possible
o Include information about Alzheimer's Disease in the curriculum of medical colleges for doctors, nurses, Social Science and supportive health care personnel
o Target conferences of medical professionals, nursing bureaus and home care services, RMPs,
o There should be a comprehensive website
§ Content of the messages
o The goal of awareness should be very clear from the outset and there should be a distinction between what is a public health approach and what accounts for individual strategy (care giving is a individual strategy while generic awareness of the disease is a public health strategy).
o Differentiation between normal aging and age associated memory impairment (AAMI) and benign senescent forgetfulness (BSF) of normal aging process.
o Clarification of the 3 words that are used inter-changeably - aging, dementia and Alzheimer's Disease
o Lack of permanent cure (warn people against high expectations from various drugs and others substances such as ginkgo biloba) and importance of care for the patient and support for the caregiver
o Right information on ethical dilemmas such as tube feeding and palliative care in the terminal stage
o Right information on the experiments conducted on curcumin
o The demographic impact of Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias in developing countries such as India
o Clear signs of Alzheimer's Disease such as forgetting names, loss of interest in hobbies, unable to manage money, unable to do simple housekeeping tasks or cooking should be highlighted in the awareness campaigns so that people can identify Alzheimer's Disease in the elderly

2. Early diagnosis and intervention
Encourage family members to take the elderly to a doctor in time without waiting for the Disease to progress and obtain necessary medical care.
§ How to promote early diagnosis
o Through workshops for training professionals for diagnosis in urban and rural areas.
o Organize memory clinics and camps

3. Improved quality of care / Rehabilitation
Improved health care through Informed family carers
Relieving of carer stress and burnout
Improved quality of care through the public health system
Informed and Effective Workforce
§ What to watch out for
o The urban rural divide should also be accounted for in the strategy and one should be realistic about what rural health workers can do in 6 hrs of full-time work as they are already overburdened.
§ Diagnosis and care services
o Offer high quality care and support through memory clinics, day-care centers, and respite care centers.
o Set quality standards for care. Simple guidelines to be used for ensuring minimum quality standards in these clinics and in public health systems
o Focus on priorities for care-givers - access to continuity of support, access to good-quality information about dementia and local help available, access to good-quality care at home, in hospital or in a care home – provided by people with an understanding of dementia, access to peer support.
o Through support groups empower carers to make choices in caring for their family member suffering from Alzheimer's Disease
o Support and inspire carers to improve the quality of care rather than just have the basic needs of the patient, attended to
§ Training of personnel in dementia”.
o Stress on the benefits of training – the task of caring for a dementia patient is extremely difficult as it involves handling of wandering patients, aggression, incontinence and eventually round-the-clock care. Training is needed to enable caregivers to provide appropriate, competent and sensitive care and support and at the same time, prevent burnout.
o Who should be trained?
o Persons with dementia, immediate family, care staff, general health care professionals, and volunteers from community.
o Other aspects of training - levels of training need to be appropriate for the corresponding group of people. Critical focus areas in training include understanding the disease, skills to manage challenging behaviour and strategies for helping families and caregivers cope with the emotional challenges of caring for a resident with Alzheimer's disease.
o Standardise content of geriatric/dementia care training
o Have at least one trained care giver in care homes- incentive and/or legislation
o Make funds available for training programs, workshops

§ How can we identify Alzheimer's disease in people living alone?
o Through telephone, friends and relatives should be encouraged to be in touch; reverse help line approach where the NGOs can contact them periodically should be promoted
§ What ARDSI should do
o Each local chapter should engage with the local govt for advocacy and fundraising.
o The Delhi chapter should do advocacy with govt on policy planning through the planning commission, other departments etc. There has to be a dynamic national presence in the national capital to help ARDSI get access to both governmental and private support.
§ A few other issues for focus
o Legal issues - Doctors look after the patient and support groups focus on the care aspect. No one focus on other legal issues relating to property. ARDSI should liase with advocate and promote information on these aspects as in Alzheimer's Disease the patient’s decision making ability is impaired
o Advocacy with NSSO (Delhi) TISS and IIPS for including Alzheimer's Disease in their research to estimate incidence of Alzheimer's Disease
o Study of WHO report of 2001 to outline minimum action required for dementia care given the uniqueness of Indian context compared to the west.
o Dementia strategy paper should be distributed to all stakeholders and their comments invited
o To have National Dementia Registry
o To advocate with corporate to include Elderly/Dementia in CSR
o Dementia to be included in National Mental Health Prorammes
o To advocate to include Dementia in Disability ACT
o Have Multidisciplinary Dementia Day care Center
o Have Respite Care facility
o Have 24 x 7 Long Term care facility for the needy
o To include Dementia in Senior Citizens Maintenance ACT 2007
o To have more support groups for care givers

About Department of Psychiatry, Nair Hospital, Mumbai:
Department of Psychiatry at Nair Hospital offers services to Elderly as part of OPD and Inpatient Facility. Special Emphasis is on detection & treatment of Psychology disorder in Elderly including Dementia, which forms part of its therapeutic outreach programme. In recent years importance is being given to research on MCI –Mild Cognitive Impairment – patients have a high risk of converting to Alzheimer's disease.

About Silver Inning Foundation:
Silver Inning Foundation is registered NGO dedicated for Senior Citizens and Its family. It is part of Silver Innings.Com www.silverinnings.com a comprehensive and dedicated Website for Elderly. Dementia is one of the focus areas for Silver Innings. Providing need base service, networking and advocacy for Senior Citizens forms important aspect of Silver Innings. It promotes the concept of Successful Ageing among various forums.

Dr.Jacob Roy
National Chairman, ARDSI
Cell: 09847034161

Dr.Charles Pinto
Project Head – NDS –I, Mumbai
Prof Emeritus, Dept of Psychiatry, Nair Hospital ,Mumbai

Sailesh Mishra
Chief Coordinator, NDS –I, Mumbai
Founder President, Silver Inning Foundation
Email: ardsimumbai@gmail.com ; sailesh2000@gmail.com
Cell: 09819819145

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The what, how and why of Dementia

If you ever saw a house filled with lights and someone turning those off one by one, then you know what happened to her brain. The first signs were small and all too easy to dismiss.

She started losing words and could barely sustain a conversation. Slowly, as the spreading darkness of Alzheimer’s took over, she forgot how to cook, tell the time on a clock, dial a phone and speak five out of six languages she knew.

She also lost all the favourite tunes that she hummed aloud all her life. For the gutsy mother, who worked tirelessly to bring up two children after the sudden death of her husband, snapping pea pods takes concentration—lots of it—now. There’s no cure and no way to stop the lights from “turning off” in her brain. At least, not yet.

“Not yet” is the operative word, full of wonderful deniability. For few recognise that a dementia upsurge is looming over India. And the nation doesn’t even have the disease on its radar.

At the first National Dementia Strategy meet held in Delhi in Jan 2009, it was declared that India would be among the top five dementia hubs by 2020. If there are 24.3 million dementia patients in the world, India is believed to have nearly 3.5 million, rising at a rate that is three to four times higher than the developed world.

Each of our five metros have 30,000 to 50,000 such patients. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), from one in 20 above 65 years of age suffering from dementia, India will face a steep rise of one-in-four sufferers in the near future.
What explains the rising numbers? “Age,” says Dr Sheilu Sreenivasan of Mumbai, “It is the only known risk factor for dementia. As a person grows older, the Alzheimer’s risk goes up too. After 60, it’s one in 20, but after 80 it is one in five.”

With rise in longevity, growth rate among the 80-plus segment has jumped up, explains Sreenivasan, the president of Dignity Foundation, a charitable organisation with social support deliveries for senior citizens.

“The number of dementia patients is also growing at a phenomenal rate,” she adds. To Nirmala Narula, vice-chairperson, Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), there’s more awareness now. “So many more people come to us. Our helplines are constantly engaged these days,” she says.

The toxic brew for dementia is lifestyle, says Dr P.N. Renjen, senior neurosurgeon with Apollo Indraprastha, Delhi: “In India, dementia in the wake of strokes or cerebro-vascular diseases is very common—nearly 30 to 40 per cent.”

Hardly a surprise as the country gallops into the present, modernising and urbanising at blinding speed, western food habits take hold, physical activity drops alarmingly, long hours of work and stress make obesity, diabetes and other lifestyle disorders the order of the day.

“There has been a surge in dementia triggered by strokes,” says Renjen. If in the West, 100 people out of one lakh get a stroke each year, in India it’s 300 out of one lakh.

Dementia is a slow burn that strips sufferers of memory, personality and eventually their humanity. “It refers to the whole class of conditions characterised by the deterioration of cognitive skills of a person, in two spheres—say, memory and calculation or memory and language—bringing one’s quality of life down significantly,” explains neurologist Dr Manjari Tripathi of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, who set up the Cognitive Disorders Clinic 10 years back. “Dementia is the effect,” clarifies Dr V.S. Natarajan, geriatrician who runs the Senior Citizens’ Bureau in Chennai.

For over 60 per cent, the cause is Alzheimer’s Disease. A further 20 per cent have vascular dementia, caused by mini-strokes which disrupt the blood supply to the brain—most common in people with heart disease and high blood pressure.

The remaining 25 per cent have a range of causes, from hypothyroidism to vitamin B12 deficiency, explains the man who authored Goodbye To Dementia. “Some are reversible, but the more deadly varieties—linked to Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s—are incurable.”
No one really knows why brain cells start dying. In Alzheimer’s, the condition is thought to be caused by the build-up of protein deposits in the brain—plaques and tangles—whose first symptom may be a difficulty in finding words.

“The only known risk factor is age,” says Dr Mathew Verghese of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore. “But in Alzheimer’s, there is an overall shrinkage of brain tissue, very different from normal ageing,” he says.

But researchers still don’t understand why Alzheimer’s is selective in the way it attacks the brain. It begins in the memory areas—the hippocampus, which is critical to memory—and spreads slowly to other parts over a period of two to three years.

“We really don’t know why a disease would ravage certain areas of the brain but leave vision and hearing completely untouched,” says Verghese. In the early stage, when the hippocampus degenerates, shortterm memory is affected.

But as it spreads through the cerebral cortex (the outer layer of the brain), the sense of judgement declines and emotional outbursts occur along with language impairment.

Death of more nerve cells lead to further changes in behaviour— agitation and the tendency to wander off. In the final stages, the patient loses the ability to recognise their closest kins, muscle control, bodily functions and needs constant care.

And it’s a world of suffering—for both the patient and the caregiver. Vinod Chugh of Delhi got his first symptoms right after retirement. His mood swings were put down to depression. It took two years of visits and battles before he finally got a diagnosis.

Meantime, his personality turned abusive. Then he lost his sense of night and day. His wife would put him to bed; he would wake up and walk around the house. The process would be repeated 20 to 30 times at night.

Every night. Not just that. Suddenly, he would go missing and she would get phone calls from the police. He couldn’t recognise people who came into the house and was frightened because he did not understand what was happening to him.

Every act of care made him suspicious and scared him even more. His wife bore it all, but at a high price. For her, life became a little bubble—her home, her patient and nothing else.

What’s worse is that one family member struck by the disorder can mean several collateral victims, with heavy tolls on family life and resources. When 60-something Rama Ramachandraiah of Bangalore was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, her family had to cope as much with the financial as the medical and emotional effects of the neurological disorder.

“The drugs would cost about Rs 2,500 a month,” says her daughter, “Then there are the tests. An MRI costs Rs 7,000 and a CT scan about Rs 2,000 and until it was diagnosed, we had about four of each done.”

Then there were the regular tests—blood sugar, TSH—which cost about Rs 1,200 every two months. Around Rs 7,500 went to the nurse, with the agency asking for Rs 3,000 every six months to renew the contract.

“In addition, it is said that an Alzheimer’s patient falls at least four times a year,” she says. “When my mother fell and broke an arm, we spent Rs 58,000 for the wrist surgery and 18 hours in hospital.”

Acure for dementia is still a distant dream. But there’s some action behind the scenes that raises new hope. Silently and largely out of sight, memory clinics are popping up in city after city, across the country— Kochi to Chandigarh, Thane to Siliguri—to address a crying need: a desperate shortage of affordable and qualified caregivers.

“Memory clinics help screening for dementia, counsel family members, help patients recall past events, provide techniques to recall things by giving them memory cards among other things,” says Kausik Majumdar, a UK-trained dementia specialist who now runs the service at the National Neurosciences Centre in Kolkata.

The Government has not gone out of its way to help these clinics. India Inc has not offered a helping hand. Yet, as some of the missing pieces start falling in place in the dementia jigsaw puzzle, a new legitimacy is being forged for a clutch of people who have always been discussed in hushed tones by family members and kept out of sight as an embarrassment.

The fear factor
• India to be among top five dementia hubs by 2020, says the WHO.
• 24.3 million is the number of dementia patients in the world. India has 3.5 million.
• One in five people at risk after 80 years of age
• 30-50 thousand dementia sufferers reside in each of the five metros, report surveys.
• 75 mn people above 60 make India a soft target for a dementia upsurge, predict experts.
• 8 mn people above 80 form the fastest-growing and most vulnerable group for the disease.

By Damayanti Datta

Courtesy: India Today :

Monday, April 20, 2009

Youth Speak Out for Grandparents Who Raised Them

“Without my grandmother, I wouldn’t have the values I have today,” said Victor, 21, a San Francisco State University communications student, who spent most of his teenage years in and out of trouble.

“My grandmother was my savior,” declared Yasmine, 19.

And Sean, 17, recounted how his grandmother “was a model for the whole community,” often helping children in her Oakland neighborhood do their math and science lessons and making sure that kids who’d been suspended from school came to her house to do their homework until they were back on track.

The three spoke out on behalf of their grandmothers at a special session held during the California Coalition for Youth conference on March 23 in Sacramento, Calif. A growing number of U.S. grandparents--50 percent more than a decade ago--help raise their grandchildren, according to the Brookdale Grandparent Caregiver Information Project at the University of California, Berkeley, Center on Aging.

Mixed with their deep appreciation, though, these young people expressed concern about the struggles with frail health, meager finances and grudging bureaucracy that often wear down their elders. Grandparents often find themselves straining to maintain their strength to keep up with children consigned to their care for reasons ranging from the parents’ incarceration to drug addiction to military deployment.

U.S. Census figures for 2007 show that 6.2 million grandparents live in households with children under age 18. More than half of these “grandfamilies” are ethnic minorities. In California alone, elders live in nearly 1 million households with children. Almost half of them are Latinos, and another quarter are Asians or African Americans.

“Young people understand the strengths of their grandparents,” said Nell Bernstein of New America Media, who moderated the workshop. Bernstein is the author of All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated (New Press, 2005).

Victor, who said he was in trouble from ages 12 to 17, credited his grandmother’s philosophy and resourcefulness for strengthening his values. “She could provide for the whole family with practically nothing,” he said of her ability to keep everyone fed, even in hard times.

Today, however, Victor’s grandmother is wheelchair-bound. He, Sean and Yasmine spoke of the daily struggles that grandfamilies face. Their observations and recommendations for change echoed many of those from experts and advocates in the field of aging.

Sean, now a media intern at New America Media, said his whole neighborhood seemed to lean on his grandmother’s inner strength--until it was sapped by arthritis, diabetes and a nasty fall. Assistance should be available, he said, to make her and other seniors’ homes wheelchair accessible, help them with paperwork and provide transportation to doctors’ appointments.

Yasmine called for more outreach to children, especially when the caregiving tables get turned. When she was 10, her grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer.

“No one was checking in with us, and I couldn’t think of who to call for help,” she said. With few resources and little money for medications and nursing assistance, Yasmine found herself helping both her grandmother and a younger cousin who lived with them.

Modest help for grandparents and other family members raising children is available at varying levels depending on the state.

“Grandmothers create miracles every day,” said conference panelist Beverly Johnson of Sacramento’s Lilliput Children’s Services. She directs the local Kinship Support Services Program (KSSP), a $4 million effort spread thinly among 20 of California’s 58 counties that meet the program’s criteria.

KSSP offers to low-income families that qualify in-home case management, emergency funds, and referral to agencies that can assist them in navigating the legal, healthcare or educational systems.

Nationally, a coalition of advocacy organizations is spearheading an effort to implement the Fostering Connections Act, which Congress enacted last fall. Among the new law’s provisions, it allows states to enable low-income family members to receive guardianship assistance payments to care for young relatives who had been in foster care.

Until now, grandparents were denied most financial and other aid given to non-relative foster parents unless they underwent the arduous process of becoming licensed foster-care providers.

“What’s more important is that grandparents should be respected for the contributions they are making to their families and communities,” noted Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United in Washington, D.C. The organization, which is part of the national coalition, is advocating for full implementation of the new law as well as the passage of other laws now pending in Congress.

“They say it takes a whole village to raise a child,” Victor observed on the youth panel. “But now it’s time for the village to give back to our grandparents.”

By Paul Kleyman, New American Media


Aging in India

In January 2009 Karen Tangen, who teaches business at Bethel University, and I were able to take 20 Bethel students to India to study globalization. One of our visits was with the Sisters of Charity Home for the Aged in Chennai. India has the second largest population of older adults in the world (7 percent of the population of over 1 billion people), after China. With few older persons covered by any kind of pension or social security system, older adults rely on traditional patterns of family care to help them when they face the difficulties associated with aging. Yet, issues of globalization and urbanization have been undercutting these forms of help as the all too familiar factors of fewer care givers due to more women in the workplace, smaller families, high mobility, and ever-rising demands of consumerism are challenging the abilities of families to provide support for their older members.

The Sisters of Charity provide solace for around 90 older adults who have nowhere else to go and no one else to whom they can turn. They arrive on the doorsteps of the good Sisters in absolute destitution. The Sisters welcome and accept them, clean their wounds, provide medical help, and invite them into a worshipping community. This is a place of rest, a loving community. As a visitor, I saw that the home offered a place of rest and a loving community that was a sharp contrast to the bustle of cars, bikes, buses, motorcycles, and auto-rickshaws that defines public life in this fast-paced, fast-growing city.

The residents told stories of unbearable suffering and pain, yet they were peaceful and at rest in this place. Young volunteers from local schools and churches, tended to their needs with smiles and with much touch. This is a place of touch and connection. In the courtyard, a statue of Jesus with outstretched arms reflected the home’s vocation. The inscription read, “See, I have no hands. Will you be my hands?” It was true in this place. Hands were outstretched. The rejected were embraced. The abandoned were found.

Ministering to 90 persons in a city of 8 million might seem like a drop of help in a bucket of need. Yet, these good Sisters had claimed the poorest of the poor as neighbors and had chosen to fold them into their worshipping community. While praying in the chapel, I was reminded of this as a person with some form of dementia entered, speaking loudly and somewhat disjointedly. The Sisters acknowledged him with a smile and a show of love that drew him into the time of prayer, reminding me that this was his community and he belonged here.

As I reflect on this, I think about the lack of medical equipment and other resources that I associate with top line care in the United States. The Sisters offered their residents love and support, touch and embrace. Complete acceptance. It reminded me again of things are truly important as we build communities of care for older adults.

By Dr. Harley Schreck, Christianity Today


Saturday, April 18, 2009

How to Appreciate Time Spent With Elderly Loved Ones - Especially During Holidays

With the holidays coming, it's time to remember our elderly relatives who cherish visits from neighbors, family and friends! With your busy work schedule, it's only natural you're wondering how to make time for the elderly and enjoy the time spent. Here's how to appreciate each moment.

Step One
Call your special elderly relative and schedule a visit. It's always best to find out what is a good time of day for the elderly, and his or her caregiver. Most elderly take naps, and medication, so visits should be scheduled around these key times in the day. Whether the special person you are visiting is living at home, or in assisted living, or a nursing home facility, it's courteous to arrange a convenient time for all of those involved.

Step Two
If you are visiting an elderly woman, take a bottle of nail polish so you can give her a manicure! It only takes a few minutes, and it will encourage face-to-face attention that the elderly woman will love! Make sure the fragrance won't bother her, or those around her, first.

Step Three
If you are visiting an elderly man, take shoe polish and the goods that go with it, so you can give him a shoe polish while you're there. Remember, in the 40s and 50s, a shoe polish was a grand treat for any gentleman! He'll love it! And it will give you a chance to humble your own status regardless of how successful and important you might feel in your daily work and profession. It will be a nice change of pace - a return to a simpler time.

Step Four
Engage in pleasant conversation with the elderly. Tell them simple things, like: "I'm so happy to see you!" "I always feel so inspired when I spend time with you!"

Step Five
Offer to go for a walk or a wheelchair tour around the area, whichever is applicable.

Step Six
Offer to meet their friends in the area, especially their caregivers or other members of the nursing home staff, or assisted living team. Thank those people for being so wonderful!

Step Seven
Ask the elderly some questions in which they can give you their sage advice about life. For instance: "I know you were always so good at preparing dinner for your family. How did you plan your meals to make delicious meals that were affordable?" Or...."I feel like a real dolt when I talk to my wife. How did you always keep Mildred smiling all those years?" etc etc

Step Eight
When the elderly offer you advice, TAKE IT! Don't challenge it. After all, they have years of experience on you. Be sure to thank them for being willing to talk with you about your life.

Step Nine
Be sure to LISTEN to the elderly. Did you know that listening to others actually lowers your own blood pressure too? Give yourself a break from being the expert at work...let the elderly person share his or her humor, experience and advice with you, and you be so glad you did!

Step Ten
Always avoid asking about an elderly person's health care situation, becasue this topic gets old and can lead to depression. Keep in mind the caregiver is already on top of this. Go ahead and show concern about the elderly person's health status by saying general, encouraging comments, such as "I hope you're doing well," or "I hope you're feeling better." But in all cases, DO NOT give medical advice!

Step Eleven
When it's time to go, thank the elderly person for his or her time. Give a gentle hug or kiss, and offer to get anything he or she might need, such as a blanket, magazine, eyeglasses case, etc. Make a plan for the next visit and write it on the elderly person's calendar, so he or she can look forward to it, and then make sure you follow up and show up when you promised!

Step Twelve
Please remember that someday, if you're fortunate, you too will be elderly...and imagine how nice it will be to feel valued by someone who invests their time in meeting with you. The elderly are indeed treasures for the community. Show them respect at all times.

Tips & Warnings
Remember to schedule your visits around medication, therapy or naps for the elderly.

Always refrain from giving medical advice to the elderly. He or she already has a healthcare provider, and you should not interfere with a professional's recommendations.

By RA Cologna

Source: http://www.ehow.com/how_4537529_loved-ones-especially-during-holidays.html

The Blood-Pressure-Friendly Breakfast

Here’s a great morning meal for better blood pressure: Grind up some flaxseeds and sprinkle them on your whole-grain cereal.

That’s right. Whole grains are good for lowering blood pressure, and flaxseeds may help bring it down a bit as well. Give those omega-3s another round of applause.

Some ALA to Start Your Day Flaxseeds are abundant in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat. And in a study, ALA-rich foods lowered blood pressure slightly -- probably because this omega-3 fatty acid helps relax blood vessels, allowing blood to move more freely through arteries. And since even small drops in blood pressure can help your health in big ways -- by guarding against stroke and cardiovascular disease -- why not sneak in more flaxseeds where you can?

More Blood-Pressure-Friendly FoodsMake sure to include these foods in your blood-pressure-lowering plan, too:
Walnuts -- They are loaded with ALA and help your heart in other important ways.

Berries -- One study recorded a seven-point dip in systolic pressure from a daily dose.

Tomatoes -- The lycopene in tomatoes has a talent for tamping down blood pressure.

Yogurt -- Eating plenty of low-fat dairy products could really cut your hypertension risk.

Keeping your blood pressure at 115/76 mm Hg can make you as much as 12 years younger.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Silver Personality of the month April 2009: Nirmala Narula

Nirmala Narula ‘Ever Green’ Social Worker

Nirmala Narula now 78 years young is part of many meaningful projects initiated by non-profit Public Foundations including, organizations like the Ford Foundation - that maintained the larger vision of: implementing programs for the welfare of the country.

During the mid 60’s she actively participated, (using marketing skills), in promoting two specific programs that were the need of the hour - a run-away population increase, namely: implementation of two major family planning programs, which involved introducing and promoting the Intra-uterine device for women and marketing the Nirodh. The latter had country-wide ramifications - simultaneous to a new factory that had started in Kanpur. A shrewd application of the right choices, resulted in marketing the device, through active liaison with the appropriate business houses in Calcutta. This prompted the need for viable project projections and effective execution. Her active participation both in liaison with clinics and hospitals and evaluating successes and failures, led to altering direction for the better. She became a great asset and her advice to the technical staff created a platform for appropriate and necessary changes.

Narula maintained organizational liaison with the concerned Ministry assuring them of maximum cooperation, in furthering their population and family welfare plans. She also served with Welfare Project All Bengal Women’s Union.

During the late 60’s, with a social-welfare bent of mind, and at ease with her B.Ed. degree, she introduced the Doman-dela Cato method of teaching – (of producing ‘maxi kids’ - with proven success in the U.S. which, Smt. Narula learned through a prescribed correspondence course), turning her home into a ‘neighborhood school’. Children unable to get admissions in bigger schools were admitted. In her desire to reach out to more kids, she went to the Institutes of Neurological Development in Germantown, Pa., to learn more.

She carried a burning desire in her heart for opportunities to serve society, which pointed her in several directions, which became apparent as time went on.

Read More: http://www.silverinnings.com/Silver%20Personality%20of%20the%20month.html

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Free Diabetes Check Up/Health Camp for Senior Citizens"- A Report

‘Silver Innings’ an organisation working for Elderly celebrated its 1st Anniversary on 9th April 2009 on eve of its Foundation Day 10th April at Dharavi Slums ,Mumbai.

On this occasion a "Free Diabetes Check Up cum Health Camp" was organised for the less privileged Elderly leaving in Koliwada area of Ganesh Sagar Tarun Mandal Premises, Pila Bangla, Dharavi Slum, Mumbai India.

The programme was supposed to start from 8.30 am but people started coming up since 7.30 am .The programme ended at 1pm. Total 113 able and disable Senior Citizens benefited by this Health Camp. 12 Volunteers helped the process to run smoothly.

S.L.Raheja Hospital participated with Team of 7 people which included 2 doctors, 1 Nurse, 2 Ward boys, 1 technician and 1 dietician.

Following Health Check up was done:
Blood Sugar test
Nerve Test
Hypertension Check up
Memory Check Up
Diet Advice

Following are the Findings:
Total 113 Senior Citizens attended
15 Elderly found suffering with Diabetes
8 Elderly with Suspected with Memory Loss/Dementia
3 Elderly with Cataract
Few Elderly found suffering from Hypertension

Bad Eating Habits / Diet

Suspected Memory Loss Seniors will be referred to Memory Clinic at Sion Hospital, Mumbai & Cataract and Diabetes Seniors will be referred to S.L.Raheja Hospital for further investigation and treatment. Medicine was distributed by Helpage India.

Ms.Swati Ingole and Pratibha from Family Welfare Agency, Dharavi; Ms.Amruta Lovekar, Ms.Mona, Ms.Drishti from Silver Inning Foundation; Dr.Karande and his team from S.L..Raheja Hospital ; Mr.Ravindra Sangroo and his team from Memory Solution and Mr.Vishwanathan from Helpage India worked hard for the success of this health camp for Senior Citizens.

The programme was organised By Silver Inning Foundation in association with The Family Welfare Agency, Dharavi; S.L.Raheja Hospital, Bandra; Helpage India, Mumbai and Memory Solutions.


FESCOM Senior Citizens Get together and Events

Federation of Senior Citizens Organisation, Maharashtra (FESCOM) ,Mumbai region has organised Get together and Sport and Cultural programme for Senior Citizens.

The main Event – The Get together is organised on Sunday 24th May 2009 at Brahman Seva Mandal,Bhavani Shankar Road,Dadar Mumbai ,India from 9am to 4pm.

Other Events:
Tennis ball Cricket Competition
is organised at BEST Nagar Colony, BEST Colony,Goregaon West,Mumbai on 17th May at 3.30pm

Fast Walking Competition for Ladies is organised at BEST Nagar Colony ,BEST Colony,Goregaon West,Mumbai on 17th May at 7.30 am

Singing Competition is organised at Nanda deep Vidyalay ,Jaiprkash Nagar,Road No 5,Goregaon –East on 9th May at 3 pm.

Best Association Award competition

Those who are above 60 years of Age and are FESCOM member or would like to participate or attend this programme pls contact below. Senior Citizens association can also participate:
Mr.Vijay Aundhe – Secretary,FESCOM,Mumbai at 09969845225

Last date of Application: 20th April 2009

Sponsor and Advertisers can also Contact: Mr.Vijay Aundhe – Secretary,FESCOM,Mumbai at 09969845225

Silver Inning Foundatin supports this Events for our Elders.

So lets have a BLAST ,Seniors !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Older People Should be Protected in Budget

Ireland’s most vulnerable older people should be protected from cuts in the upcoming budget, Age Action has told the Government.

“Age Action accepts that older people will play their part in helping to resolve the current economic situation, as they have always done. However, there are certain vulnerable groups of older people who cannot give any more and who should be protected from direct and indirect cuts,” said Age Action CEO Robin Webster.

Mr Webster added that failure to do this would result in increased suffering and hardship for some of the most vulnerable people in Ireland.

In a submission sent to the Government, Age Action identified vulnerable people as those who are chronically ill, those on very low incomes, those living alone, those currently struggling to heat their homes, those living in areas without public transport and are unable to drive, and those who need some support to enable them remain living in their own homes.

“Those whose needs are so great but have so little in the latter years of their lives have most to lose if the Government fails to protect them on budget day. Government ministers have spoken about their commitment to protecting the most vulnerable, so we are spelling out who the most vulnerable are among our older people, and what payments and supports they are depending on,” Mr Webster said.

Age Action, the national network on ageing and older people in Ireland, stated that almost one third of people aged 50 to 59 have a long-term illness and almost two thirds of over-65s report chronic illness. Almost a third of older people report having difficulty with basic functions for everyday living such as climbing a stairs or lifting or carrying objects, it said.

According to Age Action, the Government should maintain levels of home care packages, home helps, respite care and home adaptation grants to support the sick living in their own homes. Existing payments to carers should be protected, and grants for aid and appliances for the home should not be reduced.

Age Action reiterated that older people without medical cards should be protected from rising medical costs. The Government should ensure that medicines which older people need are not removed from the medical card scheme, it said.

Furthermore, Age Action has insisted that the Government must maintain the existing state pension as their main source of income, and maintain the over-80s payment at its current level. The living alone allowance, which currently stands at €7.70 per week, should also be protected.

One third of older people have unmet transport needs, particularly in rural areas. Age Action has highlighted the importance of maintaining free travel for over-66s, and protecting funding for the rural transport initiative.

In 2001, Ireland had the second highest proportion of people aged 65 years and over, and people aged 85 years and over, living in nursing homes and hospital in the EU. Many low dependency residents would have been able to remain in their own homes, if sufficient supports were provided. Age Action has stated that sufficient funds should be provided for home adaptation grants, and the number of home care packages planned for in the HSE Service Plan 2009 should be given.

Source: http://www.globalaging.org/health/world/2009/should.html

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Grandma’s grand values

Parents today are a worried lot. Their young children want them to buy things that are not healthy for the proper development of their minds and personalities. Attracted by the trendy goods of our materialistic world, they force their obliging parents to buy the latest mobile phones, MP3s and so on. The children do not know anything about the harmful effects of these things.

Munshi Prem Chand, in his short story, Chimta, has beautifully dealt with this theme and he has shown how children can be made to think in a more positive and constructive way. Prem Chand writes about a small village near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh where Id fair used to be a great attraction every year. A young boy, Hamid, was living with his grandmother. He used to call her Khalajaan. His parents had died when plague had broken out in the village and the old grandmother had brought him up with the best of values. One day a few boys of the village asked Hamid to join them in their visit to the fair. His grandmother gave him two paise, not a small sum in those days, and asked him to go and enjoy with his friends.

The boys rushed to the fair. Some bought toys, some ate sweets and others bought other things of their liking. Hamid too was keen to buy something. He moved around seriously, looking for his choice of things. He purchased a chappati-catcher (chimta). The boys laughed at him. But he didn’t bother. He returned home and gave the chimta to his grandmother, and said, “ Khalajaan, now your fingers will not burn when you make chappatis.” His grandmother embraced him with tears in her eyes.

Why cannot we have this kind of stories in the primary schools books? Our children need to imbibe good values that promote healthy thoughts and habits.

By Kamal Wadhwani

Courtsey: http://www.hindustantimes.com:80/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=&id=96f825f3-3fa3-4138-bfd2-408301b45ec9&Headline=Grandma%e2%80%99s+grand+values

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Staying Active Key to Elderly Independence

The Fountain of Youth may be less of a destination than a daily mind-stretching, body-bending, cardio-boosting journey through the golden years.

Just ask Mary Prusaitis, 92, and Florence Wold, 98. The two women live active, independent lives, but they aren’t fitness junkies; a walk around the neighborhood, lunch out with friends or a trip to the community pool for water aerobics constitutes a good workout at their age.

The pair, who live in a local senior community, are adamant that moving about - physically and mentally - is critical for people living on their own at an advanced age.“Those who are not active and stay at home are not able to do anything. They’re stagnant,“ says Prusaitis, who does leg lifts and practices getting up and down from a chair at the start of each day.

Aging experts agree. Activities that break you from routine; regular, honest assessments about your limitations; and senior-friendly assistance devices can liberate seniors who want to live independently.

“The key to successful aging is adjusting,“ says Martha Grove Hipskind, a gerontologist and director of senior residential development in Raleigh, N.C.

Of the more than 36 million Americans 65 years and older, just 1.3 million live in assisted living facilities, according to a 2004 National Nursing Home Survey. And the number of older Americans continues to grow. The American Geriatric Society estimates that by 2030, one out of every five Americans will be a senior, and most of them will live on their own or with family or friends nearby, the society says.

Those who do live independently should consider how the normal effects of aging on the eyes, ears, brain and nervous system will affect their daily lives, says Jonna Borgdoffnational, rehabilitation director for Interim Health Care, a companion service company.

For example, 12 percent of all seniors older than 65, and 35 percent of those 85 and older, require help with routine needs such as household chores, necessary business or shopping, the 2006 National Health Interview Survey reported.

Borgdoff says assessing your situation isn’t giving up on independence. Instead, it allows you to safely control where and how you live.

Is furniture and lighting in your home conducive to safely navigating around during day and night? “Maybe the only thing you have to do is rearrange,“ Borgdoff says. “After 40 years in the same home, maybe it doesn’t make sense to have some things there.

“A safe home environment can be one of the easiest and smartest things to do, considering an estimated 1.6 million older Americans go to the hospital each year for fall-related injuries, the National Institutes of Health reports.

That can mean clearing the clutter, installing handrails in the bathroom or employing a companion service to do light house cleaning and errands.

The risk and fear of falling - and yes, not being able to get back up - prompted both Wold and Prusaitis to purchase an emergency response alert device from ADT Security Services. In the last year, both women have had to press the Companion Service pendant they wear as a necklace to call paramedics to their home.

In January, Prusaitis fell while getting her morning paper from her driveway. Unfortunately, the alert button was inside, on the kitchen table, so she waited for two hours until a neighbor rushed into the kitchen and pushed the button. Now she wears the pendant all the time, tucked discreetly in her bra.

“There’s a peace of mind knowing you have it, especially at night,“ Prusaitis says of the service that costs about $35 a month.

Technology like the response system also can help alleviate the fears of adult children who worry about parents living far away, Borgdoff says. It also can provide a gateway for families to hold the difficult but important conversation about living arrangements with their elderly loved ones.

With kids, you talk about sex and drugs early, she says, and you should take the same preemptive approach when it comes to your aging parents. “Talk about this even before you feel you should stand next to mom to help her get up safely,“ Borgdoff says.

Borgdoff suggests families ask the following questions to determine whether and how an elderly person can live safely:

Are you ever afraid you are going to fall? If an old easy chair is set low and is difficult to rise out of, maybe all that’s needed is a new chair.

Is there anything you did a year ago that you don’t do now? “We edit what we do without realizing it,“ Borgdoff says.

“Not going to bridge is not a sign that you are impaired, but that you are less active.

“What do your friends say? Friends will notice changes. They will tell you whether you’re not winning at bridge like you used to.

Have you simplified furniture and clutter, such as knick-knacks, photo frames and throw rugs? It’s hard ridding yourself of possessions, but if you have to actively step around something, it’s in the way.

Why are you tired? Is it because you haven’t been active or exercised regularly in years?

Are pets trained? A small animal can be an excellent companion, but it also can be a fall hazard. Obedience classes can help reduce the risk.

Friday, April 3, 2009

'Silver Inning's Foundation Day: "Free Diabetes Check Up Camp for Senior Citizens"

On the eve of ’Silver Inning's Foundation Day (10th April), we have pleasure to Invite you to attend "Free Diabetes Check Up Camp for Senior Citizens".

Silver Inning Foundation in association with The Family Welfare Agency and S. L. Raheja Hospital has arranged ‘Free Diabetes Check Up Camp’ for the senior citizens near Pila Bangla, Dharavi Slum,Mumbai as a part of medical service for the senior citizens. We are expecting around 100 Senior Citizens to benefit from this camp.

Check ups for:
Free Blood Sugar test
Free consultation for Diabetes & Nerve problems.
Free informative session by Dietician for disease management
Free Medicines (if possible)

Date: Thursday 9th April 2009

Time: 8.30 am to 1pm.

Venue Address: Ganesh Sagar Tarun Mandal Premises,Pila Bangla, Dharavi,Mumbai - 17

Volunteers and Donations are welcomed.

We welcome you on behalf of all the Trustees of Silver Inning Foundation and Swati Ingole , Social Worker, FWA

Silver Inning Foundation: +919987104233
Swati Ingole,FWA- Dharavi Center : 91-022-24015150

Website: www.silverinnings.com
Email: info@silverinnings.com

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dealing with Loneliness in Old Age

The elderly population is large and growing. In USA in 1987, 8.5 million elderly lived alone; by 2020, 13.3 million elderly will live alone. More than 6.5 million, or 77%, of all elderly living alone are women. The percentage of older women living alone exceeds that of men in each age group, but women become progressively more likely than men to live alone with age. Among those over 85, 52% of women live alone compared to 29% for men. Widowhood is by far the most common situation for older women who live alone. Between the ages of 65 and 74, 77% of women living alone are widows, as are 88% of those over 75. Men who live alone are far more likely to be divorced or never to have married. This phenomenon occurs because women tend to marry men older than themselves, and because women live longer than men.

I will never forget the time that I walked into a hospital and heard the unhappy cry of an old man, "Nurse, I'm lonely." Over and over again he expressed his need in heart-rending sobs that touched my soul in a unforgettable way. I asked the nurse on duty, "What's wrong with the old man?" She replied, "He has outlived all his relatives and no one comes to see him anymore; and I can't spend all day holding his hand."

Over the years, I have visited hundreds of retirement homes. Some are very well-run, caring organizations, handling older people effectively who are in every state of functioning. Other convalescent hospitals are snake pits from hell--the range of hospital and retirement homes extends from awesome to awful. We who are advanced in years must take the time to consider where we will live, if we live too long to take care of ourselves.

If we wisely prepare in advance, we can select a home that does have some people who can take the time to hold our hand. When my Aunt Evelyn was just 60 years old, her husband, Lee, died unexpectedly. My aunt soon sold her property and moved to an American Baptist life-care retirement home in Seattle, Washington. Our whole family was aghast that Auntie would retire so early in life.

However, the life-care facility furnished Auntie with a nice room where she could do her own cooking; or, she could eat in the cafeteria whenever she wanted to. In addition, she could travel and come and go as she desired, which she did extensively. For years, Auntie spent very little time at the home. Now, at the age of 90, she is infirm and in a wheelchair. She needs around-the-clock care--and she gets it. The family, what is left of us, are scattered all over the country; and Auntie seldom gets visitors. But whenever one of us does call, we find a happy, contented, well-cared-for senior citizen who never calls out, "Nurse, I'm lonely."

When I first started visiting retirement and full-care homes, I considered them to be awful places and one day I said to a son: "Son, before you put me in one of these homes, shoot me." Of course I was kidding; but, you can see how terrible I thought the homes were. Since that time, I have seen dozens of beautiful caring places. Recently, I toured the Alzheimer's facilities run by my cousin Tom Sharon in Tacoma, Washington. No one wants Alzheimer's, but this terrible condition has been minimized by these thoughtful, happy facilities.

Loneliness comes to people who do not prepare for a good retirement. I have met young people who said they were never going to retire; but when the time comes, almost everyone has to drop the old loads and pick up new ones. We must all carry some type of burden or occupy ourselves with something of interest. The saddest tale ever told concerns the person who never made any provision to retire or change occupations.

So, if you find a care facility that cares, you will not need to worry about the frightening conditions of loneliness. Today, social services, churches, lodges, schools, and institutions are dedicated to the proposition that many people need to be cared for. If you are one of those people, relax and let other people cure their loneliness by curing yours.

Another type of lonely person has come to my attention: people who have retired and find themselves at a loss as to what to do. Here are eight sure-fired cures for such loneliness:
Keep busy -- If you are lonely, do with eagerness whatever is in front of you to do: write letters, visit people, fix something that needs to be fixed, take up a hobby, start collecting something of value, become amazed and fascinated by everything around you. Keep busily involved in everything that gets your attention--every little thing and every middle-sized thing can soon grow into big significant projects. The happiest person I ever met and the busiest person I ever met are one and the same. Cure loneliness by keeping busy.

Involve yourself -- If you are lonely, involve yourself in community affairs. Many times when people retire they find themselves in a burned-out condition. Some folks have told me, all I want to do is just sit in a chair, pet my dog, stare out the window, or watch TV. This kind of mental attitude sets a person up to be lonely. And, if a person continues to be a hermit, there will come a time when an incurable loneliness will be the order of the day.

Help others -- If you are lonely, look for and strive to cure the loneliness of someone else--it will cure your own. How about holding the hand of some of those people who made no provisions for old age. There are myriads of people who need help--find them and help them.

Avoid escapes -- If you are lonely, avoid day dreaming, sleeping too much, and watching too much TV. When you do dream dreams, make them possible, obtainable, and something you can work on. Dream magnificent goals for the future and start to bring them about. TV can be a life-saver on occasions; but to mesmerize your brain in a constant dose of radiation from the idiot box is a sure-fire way of becoming depressed and lonely. Too much sleep can be a powerful escape mechanism. We can find ourselves fleeing from guilt, responsibility, failure, and hopelessness. To run away through sleep is just like running away with alchohol--it only makes matters worse. Fight the tendency to sleep too much as if it were a demon from hell--it is.

Choose to be happy -- If you are lonely, you are probably depressed and unhappy. Fight unhappiness with a direct attack of the will--choose to be happy in spite of the circumstances. Ask yourself the question, "How does my unhappiness change my situation?" The answer will be, "It doesn't, it just makes it worse." So make things better for yourself by choosing to be happy. Fight depression by talking out your problems. If alcoholics can join a group and get control of their drinking, you can join a group and get control of your depression. Talk to friends, a counselor, or your pastor, and keep talking until you find yourself maintaining an attitude of optimism.

Collect good thoughts -- If you are lonely, collect inspirational thoughts, good jokes, meaningful poems, and literary masterpieces. Read lots of good books, if you can; if you can't, have someone read to you. Make a list of good things that you read about and then try to memorize some inspirational quotation and share it with whoever comes your way. Collect good thoughts to share with those people who come your way, and soon others will search for your companionship like the proverbial guru of the mountain.

Join a social group -- If you are lonely, join one of the many social groups in your community. See that you visit the Senior Center regularly and meet new people. You will find many individuals there that are involved in social gatherings of various types. Commit yourself to one or more groups that you find of interest.

Go to church -- If you are lonely, go to church. How do I have the nerve to tell people to go to church when I am writing a secular work? I do for the following reason: There is a lot of criticism of the church, but no substitute for it. Most churches care for their people and treat everyone who attends like family. If we cut the church out of the community there would be tens of thousands of more lonely people. I have heard some people say, I went to church and the people were unfriendly. If we are friendly, the church will be friendly. If we are unfriendly, more than 75% of the time, the church will still be friendly.Loneliness is often caused by wanting people to do something for us. When we do things for other people, we are never lonely. Self-referenced thinking often leads to a barrenness of spirit that breeds discontent and loneliness. Think up, think out, toward people, think around, toward all the exciting things of life; and avoid thinking too much about yourself, and the problem of loneliness will disappear.

Loneliness generally occurs at specific times of the day or during specific days such as holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. Planning ahead for these times so that you are active and busy with other things helps provide a very effective means of dealing with loneliness.

By Wm. J. Diehm

Source: http://seniors-site.com/widowm/lonely.html

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