Alzheimer's Awareness Month

Dr. Mona Nongmeikapam / Paviene Paulina *


1. Dental procedures, certain food items or medicines cause Dementia
2. Memory loss is a normal part of ageing
3. Being forgetful means that you have Dementia
4. It happens only to the elderly
5. There is no point in showing a doctor as there is no cure
6. And the worst one, there is no point in caring for or visiting a person with Dementia because they won't remember you anyway!

We begin with a disclaimer that all the above are myths and we attempt to shed some light onto this modern pandemic that is rising at an alarming rate of one victim every 3 seconds. Simply put, Dementia is a slowly progressing illness which affects one's memory, thought process, ability to perform tasks or learn new things, use of language and regulate one's emotions or behaviour.

Slowly, a person is left unable to perform one's Activities of Daily Living (ADL) independently. Alzheimer's disease is the commonest form of Dementia (60-80%). The remaining types are vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, fronto-temporal dementia, etc.


The 8th World Alzheimer's Month (2019) aims at Raising Awareness and Challenging Stigma. Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year.

It is predicted that by 2050, there will be at least 152 million victims to this devastating illness. India has over 4 million individuals affected by Dementia and our state ranks second just after Tripura in having the highest number of reported cases of Dementia.

Tragically, on the contrary, WHO reports that 2 out of every 3 people globally believe there is little or no understanding of dementia in their respective countries. There also is a huge amount of stigma and misinformation that surrounds dementia, hence necessitating the need for this year's theme.


The risk of dementia can be drastically reduced by adopting an active lifestyle, keeping socially and mentally active, avoiding alcohol and nicotine use, a well-balanced healthy diet and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar level. Safer road practices, avoiding head injuries and good mental health are other preventive measures.


With progress of the illness, there is gradual decrease in mental speed, attention and motor dexterity.

Purpose of intervention: Since Dementia is a chronic degenerative illness, various activities can be adopted to slow down the process. The target is to increase quality of life of the affected individual as well as the caregiver.

Some practical guidelines for better care:

1. Attention span is less and they become easily distractible. Any activity should be short with short gaps in between.
2. Short sentences should be used for communication and speaking quickly should be avoided.
3. Clear repeated instructions.
4. A calm and patient demeanour while interacting with them.

Absolute NOs

1. Being Forceful
2. Be agitated
3. Scolding, shouting

Sometimes due to memory deficits, they may confabulate, i.e. make up facts and caregivers may think she is lying. One has to realise that they are not doing on purpose and try to be empathetic. Regular schedule can be made- to make it predictable for them and strictly followed. Using a sort of activity checklist can be a great aid for the patients and caregivers.

The decreased cognitive ability brings about a role reversal. This can bring a sense of decreased self-efficacy further leading to low self-esteem. Sometimes they become agitated when they are not able to perform well. As caregivers we have to acknowledge that and give respect. Engaging them in work which they find expertise can help them feel a sense of purpose.

Simple chores like cleaning vegetables, sorting grains, watering plants can be done while making sure not giving sharp objects. Reading newspapers, playing Sudoku, cards, etc are all tricks to keep the brain working.

Many a times, behavioural problem like shouting, throwing things are a response to situations they feel uncomfortable with. If caregivers analyse the triggers for it and modify then the behavioural problem may not persist.

Reminiscence therapy: reviewing life events and achievements is used for dementia patients. This can be done at home by giving them time and discussing about their achievements, youthful life and the things they enjoyed doing with friends.

Simple activities like singing folk songs, reciting folklores or poems could promote self-esteem, enhance communication and facilitate a better relationship with the caregivers. Aromatherapy and playing soothing songs help to calm angry or anxious.

When the dementia progress, they may have difficulty doing complex tasks. Environment manipulation like making them wear elasticised pants, slippers, having easy access to all basic facilities, removal of sharp objects, rounded furniture, cues on the door or windows, etc are few of the methods that can be adopted to simplify the daily activities.

They may become confused with time, evening or day. Re-orientation can be done about time and dates using calendars and clocks.

Sometimes, they may become adamant about some false information like past events, a sibling being alive though he/she may have passed away a long time. Confrontation or using logic will not help. Just listening to them, making them talk about those events (How is he important, how is he like, what he likes, what kind of relationship they had) and distracting them later may prove helpful instead.

SEVERAL NEWER AND BETTER DRUGS are available to delay the disease process as well as to combat the emotional deregulations and behavioural disturbances, making life easier for the patient as well as the care-givers.

And finally CARE-GIVER BURDEN IS REAL. Especially the caregivers taking multiple roles and experiencing burn-out is common. It is OK to admit being stressed or overwhelmed. Seeing a dear one being only a faint shadow of their glorious past can be traumatising. Adequate role division and allocation among family members at home is important.

Taking time out for self-care, socialising, following spirituality or just having a hobby is a must. The community can play a huge role with easily available educational materials for the care-givers and the society at large so that burden of stigma that comes from sheer ignorance is lessened.

Community day-care centres specially designed with Dementia patients in mind can ease the care-givers' burden and also provide the patients with an opportunity to socialise in supervised, safe spaces.

Let us accept Dementia as an opportunity to wash away the harsh memories life bestows upon us at times and try create beautiful new memories every single day instead!

* Dr. Mona Nongmeikapam / Ms. Paviene Paulina wrote this article for
Dr. Mona Nongmeikapam, Consultant Psychiatrist and Ms. Paviene Paulina, Clinical Psychologist
For any doubt or feedback, the authors can be reached at pukningpothasang(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on September 21 2019.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Mera Houchongba @Kangla #2: Gallery
  • An Appeal to NNPGs and NSCN (IM)
  • Inclusion of Manipur Nagas are irrelevant
  • Cry of a Dying River - 97 :: Poem
  • An Act of Remembrance & Political Debate
  • Corps that abuse human rights are threat
  • Oils to make winter skin glow
  • Gorkha Youth Summit
  • Ghost of 1994 continues to haunt MPSC
  • Significance of Oct 18 in Manipur history
  • Akhunba Takhellei #1 :: eRang
  • Ngamhao, Dimrei, Lansinganglu : eMing
  • A Lesson from a Long Peace Talk
  • Nobel Economics Prize 2019
  • World Blind Walk at ADBU
  • Dismay over relentless journo-murders
  • Trashing a pact with Govt
  • Of Women : today & tomorrow
  • NSCN (I-M) on choice before Nagas
  • Chayom Thupki (Meetei Philosophy) #12
  • Shirui Lily Fest - Inauguration : Gallery
  • 'Unethical act of few Orgs of a community'
  • In defence of ancestral land and freedom
  • Not just twin but triple demands of NSCN-IM
  • Govt College Teachers' Assn : GBM
  • The Killing Fields 2013-19 : News Timeline
  • 'Constitution can be pursued post solution'
  • Pressing need for sanity to prevail
  • Forgotten pledge - a reminder
  • 123rd Lamyanba Irabot #3 : Gallery
  • May all the roads lead to Ukhrul ..
  • AMAND Cultural @Pune #2 : Gallery
  • Naga Flag & Constitution is our Identity
  • Global Handwashing Day
  • Gwangju Prize for Human Rights: Nominate
  • German program for women entrepreneurs
  • Raising the integration bogey, again
  • October 15 and the GoI
  • NTC calls for solution within scheduled time
  • Naga peace talks deadlocked
  • Pot Lannaba : Houchongba #1: Gallery
  • IM & Govt against freedom fighters
  • Wijaidin Pamai @Intl Fashion Week Goa
  • SheChef Season 2, Shirui Lily Festival 2019
  • Crazy for the hole :: Poem
  • Intl Classical Manipuri Dance Festival
  • Putting a check on single use plastic
  • Harvesting the green gold
  • Mera Houchongba @Kangla #1: Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba festival
  • Intl Day for Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Understanding JAM for bright career
  • For you, I gave up everything : Poem
  • Paranoia of Beauty: A Corporate Brainwash
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Opening NE to outside world: Challenges ..
  • Contested Identity Along Myanmar Border
  • NNPGs mandated for solution: Isak
  • Wont walk path of capitulated peace: IM
  • 3-month deadline ..unacceptable: Hoho
  • Manipur Street in Manchester & Shirui Lily
  • A glimpse of Shirui Flower : Gallery
  • World within a World
  • Face of RaDiant Group
  • For the Common People :: Poem
  • Heart Camp at Senapati District Hospital
  • NDPP is 'verba non facta' : NPF
  • Swindling of Public Money
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #2 : Gallery
  • World Tourism Day @Noney #3 : Gallery
  • World Mental Health Awareness Week 2019
  • Manipur lost legacy- Merger Agreement #2
  • My aquamarine :: Poem
  • Rice for beauty
  • Stand off over flag and constitution
  • Suicide - Western docs, Psychologists...
  • Naga wont accept alien doc. as constitution
  • Manipuri Calendar 2020 :: Download
  • AMAND Cultural @Pune #1 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand : Timeline
  • NE Message of Cleaninness at Delhi
  • Research Support Officer @ Amethyst
  • 8th AGM/Annual Cultural of AMAND, Pune
  • Peace & conflicts studies as a career
  • College student leaders learn leadership
  • Reaffirming stand of 2016 unity
  • Mr. Chief Minister, clean the dirt...
  • Nongdol Leima @ JNMDA #2 : Gallery
  • Haloi Taret: Dangerous Beauty....
  • Difficult days ahead for Muivah
  • Manipur from Independence to Merger #3
  • World Mental Health Day, 2019
  • Traditional DJ
  • Cry of a Dying River - 96 :: Poem
  • ..district to State level : Shirui Lily Festival
  • Something is still not right
  • Chothe Achui Lin festival #2
  • Heritage Park @Sangai Fest #3: Gallery
  • Are we being bullied with same fake news?
  • Hard facts about the betrail
  • World Animal Day 2019
  • Academic Entrepreneurship at MU #2
  • Nagas of Nagaland : Drawing the divide
  • ... Manipur needs strategic change
  • World Tourism Day @Noney #2 : Gallery
  • ST status is to save indigenous community
  • Sangai festival and tourism multiplier
  • Governance, Gender & Environment :: Book
  • Now Your Hair :: Poem
  • Neiphiu Rio's myopic belief on ILP : NPF
  • Probe into maladministration of hospital
  • Taking high moral stand: Begone moral cop
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur lost legacy- Merger Agreement #1
  • Sikkim Dance @Sangai Fest: Gallery
  • World Habitat Day: A celebration for home
  • For Your Eyes Only :: Poem
  • No School bag day in Manipur
  • Making ban on single use plastic effective
  • New CAB clause to protect NE : HM
  • NNPGs ready to conclude talks: Kitovi
  • 123rd Lamyanba Irabot #2 : Gallery
  • Ngangom Chaoba : Natyabhusan
  • Ganja economics, Jai Bholenath !
  • Soul Sister :: Poem
  • Leap of faith on wings of Prayer
  • Counselling: Children in Conflict with Law
  • Caution for the cocksure
  • CAB Protest @Khwairamband : Gallery
  • Manipuri Women & Crime Against them
  • Toward exploring a better future for youth
  • I happily cry :: Poem
  • NE Students' Culturals at Pondicherry
  • Beauty benefits of banana
  • Heart Camp at District Hospital, Chandel
  • Contained but final word yet to be said
  • Smart idea, bumbling idealists
  • Chingda Satpi Engellei #2 :: eRang
  • Facts & Opinions: Integration of Naga Area
  • Licypriya : Earth Day Network 'Rising Star'
  • Cry of a Dying River - 95 :: Poem
  • Khangminashi - V at Ibotonsana Hr Sec
  • Academic Entrepreneurship at MU #1
  • Vote BJP but protest: CAB Indecisive stand
  • Significance of Manipuri proverbs
  • Hathei Phanit (Chilli) #2: Gallery
  • Naga insurgency & peace condition #2
  • World River Day, 2019
  • Half Brother :: Poem
  • Youth Essay Contest: May 18 Memorial
  • Michelle Salam : Top Ten Cake Masters
  • Internal tussle within the Government
  • The humility of MK Gandhi & Manipur
  • Bhagyachandra Death Anniv @WB : Gallery
  • Why dont Manipur forget Merger Agreement
  • Let us celebrate Non Violence Day
  • Looking Forward to a Sexy Evening : Poem
  • Observance of Senior Citizen's Day
  • Turmeric in beauty care
  • Artists for NH7 Weekender, Meghalaya
  • Parking madness at commercial centres
  • Demise of a dream
  • 123rd Lamyanba Irabot #1 : Gallery
  • International Day Of Older Persons, 1 Oct
  • Licypriya : India Peace Prize : Gallery
  • Irabot the poet of the working class
  • October Calendar for Year 2019 : Tools
  • Licypriya Kangujam : India Peace Prize 2019
  • ST status demand for Meiteis widening rift
  • Certificate Course on Neuropsychology
  • Lining up stand against CAB
  • Remembering Lamyanba & his politics
  • Irabot Day & the practice of volunteerism
  • Lamyanba Hijam Irawat :: Read articles
  • Around India in 60 days
  • Nungleiband Massacre: Diary of Editor
  • Judo: Rishikanta, Roshibina, Kalpana
  • Heart of an empowering woman : Poem
  • Imphal Peace Museum: Best Design Award
  • Engaging with the young minds
  • Lai Khutsangbi & female power
  • Naga liberty or forced disintegration..
  • Irabot's letter to Assembly: 18 Oct 1948
  • Monika Ingudam: Natl Youth Icon Award
  • Heart Camp at District Hospital, Ukhrul
  • Swacchata Hi Seva at Lakoipat
  • Let 'tree' that was cut, be the last
  • World Tourism Day @Noney #1 : Gallery
  • Where All The Flowers Gone? #2: Gallery
  • The resurgence of Hijam Irabot
  • Naga insurgency & peace condition #1
  • World Heart Day 2019
  • Judo: L Sushila; M Bidyashori, T Inunganbi
  • Counselling: Children in Conflict with Law
  • Looking to increase revenue collection
  • Adapting with the changing time
  • Inamma - Film Scenes #1 :: eRang
  • Heritage Park @Sangai Fest #2: Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 94 :: Poem
  • Reject false solutions to climate crisis
  • Career in Mass Communication
  • Ideals of Lamyanba Irawat
  • Laurels for Th Brinda, Ng Touthang
  • Performances to watch at NH7 Weekender
  • Protest in NE against CAB starting Oct 3
  • Bamboo bus shelter model developed
  • Noney to host World Tourism Day
  • Drought and the drainage issues
  • Marangwon @Kangkhui Khullen: Gallery
  • The flavor of Utsav Tarpon
  • Urgent Need to Reconsider Naga History
  • A woman :: Poem
  • Human Papilloma Virus & women's health
  • Meeting the Enemy at Nathu La
  • 'Outburst' of Thuingaleng Muivah
  • Concerns for media persons
  • Ibudhou Thangjing Haraoba #5 : Gallery
  • Licypriya Climate March @Angola :Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2019 #4: Gallery
  • Licypriya Climate March at Luanda :: Report
  • Kartal Cholom @ Sangai Fest : Gallery
  • Lady E-Rickshaw driver inspires women..
  • Culture Students Foundation Day : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Book published on Irabot Day: Download
  • Where All The Flowers Gone? #1: Gallery
  • BCIM Corridor & China New Transportation
  • Alzheimer's Awareness Month
  • Cry of a Dying River - 93 :: Poem
  • Rally & Youth's Voice on Climate Change
  • Guwahati to Bangkok : Direct Flight
  • Stringent traffic rules in place
  • Time for immediate solution to climate crisis
  • Traditional Dress of Hmar : Gallery
  • Licypriya @UNESCO Forum, Angola: Gallery
  • 46th AMWJU Foundation Day : Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba #2 : Gallery
  • 48th Foundation Day of RIMS : Gallery
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #4: Gallery
  • Mukna - indigenous game : Gallery
  • Babysana's last rites performed: Gallery
  • Tolloi, Ukhrul :: 360 Panorama View