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Times of India
10 January 2011
Kolkata, India

City luminaries on Sunday participate in the Memory Walk City luminaries on Sunday participate in the Memory Walk
It was a unique walk to show the city remembered and cared for those who cannot remember. Hundreds participated in the Memory Walk from Eden Gardens to Town Hall on Sunday morning to raise social awareness about dementia and articulate the voice of elders in the city who are inflicted by the dreaded disease and of all those involved in and dedicated to providing care and support to them.

Braving the chill, dementia patients, caregivers, school children, representatives of various social organisations, medical professionals and noted personalities of the city, including Gen. Shankar Roy Chowdhury, Justice Chittatosh Mookerjee, Soumitra Chatterjee, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay and Aparajita Ghosh Das participated in the walk organized by Alzheimer’s & Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), Kolkata.

At the conclusion of the walk, the participants adopted a Citizens’ Dementia Solidarity Charter at the Town Hall, pledging to remember those who cannot remember. "In realisation of the severity of the extremely debilitating and yet incurable neuropsychiatric condition dementia, the ‘epidemic’ proportion in which it is fast surging, and the need for social support to the families caring for their loved ones inflicted by dementia, we earnestly call upon all sections of the society to consider dementia as a health and social care priority, as has been advised by the World Health Organisation.

We call upon all to show love, empathy, care and dignity to persons with dementia and pledge positive support towards the mission of holistically tackling dementia through raising awareness, ensuring early diagnosis, building social care infrastructure, providing support to family care givers and training specialised dementia care givers," read the pledge. Mridula Dutta, one of the caregivers who took the pledge, pointed out that dementia was not only a cruel disease that snatched away cognitive and functional abilities from the inflicted persons, it devastated the affected families as well.

"With pharmacological intervention having a very limited role, the most important part of treatment for dementia is appropriate and specialised care giving. To ensure quality care, we, the family caregivers, require proper professional counselling, constant training to upgrade our skill and social care support that supplements home-based caring," she said.

Alzheimer’s, one of the reasons for dementia, is assuming alarming proportions with one in every thousand 60-yearold and one in every four 80-year-old afflicted by the disease for which no clinical cure has been found yet. "There is a need for greater awareness, early detection and intervention, both medical and social," said ARDSI Kolkata secretary and director Priti Gopal Datta Ray.

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