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Friday, July 29, 2016

ASTU Movie Review from the Eyes of Caregiver

I never realized how close to my own reality a movie could get till I watched the #Marathi #movie #ASTU….as I sat through the 2-hour-5-minute film and watched small and big events of my life playing on screen, I realized that the story writer (and/or many others closely associated with the film) too would have probably lived these moments in her life to be able to portray this disease so accurately. It is true that #dementia / #Alzheimer never affects just one person, it affects the entire family. It changes your life so completely that you can never be the same person again – whether you are the patient or the #caregiver . 

ASTU is actually the narrative of a 24-hour day in the life of Dr.Shastri, who is a person with dementia, and his immediate family and their experiences as he gets lost while trying to follow an elephant through the crowded streets of Pune. The screenplay seamlessly moves in and out of incidents in the past and present as his daughter traces the journey of the discovery of her father having Alzheimer’s disease and the subsequent ways in which the family, and she particularly, has been dealing with it. The delicacy and vulnerability of human relationships when challenged with a situation such as having a person with Alzheimer’s disease in the family is very sensitivity handled in the film. The manner in which Dr.Shastri connects with the mahout’s wife Chanamma is also touching – no relationship, no identity and yet, he places as much faith in her as a small child does in his own mother.

The performances by the entire cast are good, but #IravatiHarshe , #AmrutaSubhash and #MilindSoman deserve special mention. Dr. #MohanAgashe , of course, is stunningly flawless in his portrayal as a person with the dreaded dementia. And hats off to #SumitraBhave and #SunilSukhtankar for attempting to weave a film around this lesser known and oft-misunderstood illness…as a caregiver, my personal thanks for recognising and documenting the angst of a child who sees their parent lose their memory and identity and living through the helplessness of it all.



Friday, July 22, 2016

Volunteers – The true peers of senior citizens!!

By Sneha Tipnis

Life is indeed a very beautiful journey! But it tends to slow down during one’s silver age (An endearing term for life during one’s old age). The elderly become more sensitive during their silver age. They need special care and attention at every moment since waking up in the morning!! It is fantastic if you are a healthy, active & energetic senior citizen! But some seniors find it difficult to cope with their daily tasks during this delicate, silver age. So, here’s a way out for you to enjoy every moment of your silver life with a team of trained, positive & caring volunteers!!

Courtesy: http://jimmyscambridge.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/volunteers.jpg
One such organization is Silver Innings (SI) and A1 Snehanjali (A1S) ! It is supported by Silver Inning Foundation, It has in-house employees and staff who take care of every single need of resident senior citizens (The person suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s). As stated by Silver Inning Foundation (SIF), ‘An individual is considered senior citizen at 60yrs and can only then avail services from civil and non-civil society. SIF addresses individuals from 50 yrs onwards to enable the process of aging gracefully and be well equipped to handle old age.’ The team of in-house employees and staff at SI and A1S  provides all the basic needs of senior citizens like food, medical aid, housing, rehabilitation, clothing and counseling. It also satisfactorily and responsibly caters to the overall physical and mental health of the resident elderly. SI and A1S plays an important, moral role of equipping and supporting the family members of elderly residents. It helps the family members to manage and care for their older members at home. The SI and A1S has a reliable and strong support in the form of medical professionals on their panel. The help and guidance of this panel remarkably contributes to the assisted living elder care home called A1 SNEHANJALI . The SIF appoints volunteers to organize and conduct recreational, entertaining events for senior citizens. These events include World Elder’s Day, Senior Citizen’s Talent Show etc. The volunteers also help to clean the surroundings of the facility (The property where Silver Innings and A1 Snehanjali is located) and undertake plantation drives. Such an efficient team of volunteers also conducts games & activities for the resident elders. 

Another assisted living, non-profit, senior living community called Eskaton (Watch video) is situated in the greater Sacramento area, California, U.S.A. It was founded in 1968 and at present, it is the largest nonprofit, community-based organization which serves 12,000 seniors annually in the Greater Sacramento area. In 2016, Eskaton won the highest honour of Sacramento region’s most health-conscious employer in the category - medium-size organization. Team Eskaton won it for the third consecutive year. The term, Eskaton, itself means ‘Dawn of a new day.’ Their committed and dedicated team provides a unique range of services and support (Click this link) for this senior community. So, their core purpose is ensuring the dawn of a new age for innovative health, housing and social services.

Team Eskaton which consists of 2000 staff actively provides personalized care and services like nursing, short-term rehabilitation, community living till in-home services. Team Eskaton is formed of physicians, therapists, licensed nurses, nursing assistants and dieticians. The Home Support services are comprised of programs like Live Well at Home, Transportation plus etc. Out of these, the Live Well at Home provides individual, home care support for older or disabled senior citizens. This support is provided to them at their homes or in an independent/ assisted living, skilled nursing or hospitals. At all these places, the required assistance is provided to the resident elderly for maintaining a safe and independent lifestyle. A detailed, free care assessment is conducted by Team Eskaton to cater for the customized needs and interests of the Sacramento community. The ‘Live Well at Home’ is inclusive of facilities like companion services, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, nutrition & dining services, household services, transitional care, home safety assessments, evaluation of cognitive and emotional well-being, special care for Dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, community engagement & recreational activities etc. This Care Management is efficiently tackled by a team of skilful volunteers and Care Managers like licensed nurses and social workers.

There is another, well established and California (U.S.) based foundation called Caregivers - Volunteers assisting the elderly (Click link to watch video of Tammy Glenn, Executive Director, Caregivers.) It was founded in 1984 with a grant from the Interfaith Council on Aging and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Consequently, it successfully served hundreds of seniors in 6 cities all over the Ventura County which ranks among one of the largest aging populations in entire U.S. Since 1984, Caregivers (Click link to know more) has diligently taken care of nearly 3,000 elderly, frail and homebound residents of Ventura County. These elderly clients are beyond 60 years of age and suffer from several chronic, age-centric problems like decreased mobility, loneliness and absence of income. Therefore, Caregivers stepped in for their help. Their mission of Caregivers’ volunteers is to promote sound health, well-being, dignity and independence of the elderly. In order to do so they have been offering non-professional and non-medical services. The volunteers at Caregivers are meticulously trained ones who work for 2 to 4 hours per week to accompany, help the Ventura seniors live independently. These volunteers carry out gardening or minor household tasks which become difficult, tiresome for aging elders. During this process, they build strong personal relationships to emotionally support the community of elders. Also, high school students assist the elderly at their home under an intergenerational program called ‘Building Bridges.’ These students perform the cumbersome tasks like yard work, sweeping, vacuuming, washing windows etc. for the elderly.

Thus, the above examples truly show that volunteers are indeed the true peers of senior citizens!! 

About Author 
Sneha Tipnis is a freelance writer from India. She writes content for websites, brochures, resumes, blogs and social media updates. She’s an English Literature Graduate and Masters in Educational Technology – Computer Applications (MET-CA). She has worked in the e learning industry for a year pertaining to Masters Degree. She’s a student of The Writers Bureau  (A renowned Writing College in UK), Manchester, London.
You can connect with Sneha on her blog: goldentipsmumbai.blogspot.in, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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