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As we age, our dependency and hence need requirement for support increases. Dependency can be physical, social, psychological, or/ and  emotional and it can be even more critical if a senior develops any form of disease which has an impact on their cognitive abilities, for eg, dementia or any other related disorder. Under such circumstances, our elderly loved one needs a helping hand from a person with compassion and sensitivity to understand the disease and its related symptoms.

At the same time it is important that we don’t impact the dignity and sense of independence of our elderly loved one. Hence it becomes important for the caregiver to be trained and educated to sensitively solve the problems of our loved ones.

  • But the major question arises who should be that helping hand and what skills, qualities and training should he have?
  • And why do I really need such trained person for geriatric care if I already have a dedicated maid at home?

The answer can be understood through the following important areas:

1) Change in the Indian family system – City life is becoming more fast paced and competitive with time, and demanding careers and lifestyle take up a large part of our time. This has certainly impacted the older Indian’s existing pattern/way of care. Earlier, children used to take care of the physical and other needs of their aging parents but now they hire a carer for them. They create a support system for their elderly, so that the elderly can lead an active and engaged life.

2) Increase in population
Undoubtedly, the geriatric population as well as the number of people with dementia (4 million) is increasing at a high/steady rate in India. So the rising geriatric population clearly indicates that demand for trained attendants and nurses will increase.

3) Brain disorders need constant care
We all know that disorders like dementia are incurable, but they are manageable. A trained attendant is a critical element of dementia care that can help to improve quality of life of your loved one.  The disease is progressive in nature and it requires constant care of the patient. Moreover, the care has to be person centered and flexible which is not possible until someone trained person steps in the care process.

4) Challenging behaviours require skills to handle
Soft skills, knowledge and training is required to manage challenging behaviours of seniors especially in dementia. How to distract if the patient is anxious, how to react if your loved one is hallucinating, how to control pacing, how to manage anger, agitation and catastrophic changes, all such situations require the expertise of a trained attendant. Moreover, the training enables attendant to prepare for the unexpected in advance and how to deal with it when it comes.

5) Social component of dementia care
Generally patients with the moderate/ advance stage dementia require an attendant for their personal care like assistance with walking, bathing, eating, toileting etc. But we shouldn’t ignore the fact that our loved one still has some social, psychological and emotional needs. An Ayah or maid wouldn’t be able to understand such unmet needs so a trained attendant is required.

How do we train the attendants?

Keeping the rising need in mind, Samvedna Senior Care has taken the initiative to train the attendants-nurses and make them well equipped for geriatrics and dementia care. The participants are moderately (senior secondary) educated with some certification in caregiving, and have experience of working in hospitals and are able to administer medical care to the patient like injections, IV drips, keeping track of vitals like BP, sugar and medication management.

Our training module comprises of both theoretical and practical learning and it gives vital information on handling geriatric problems especially in dementia care. We understand that geriatric patients require much more than physical care. We train our attendants to understand the importance of social, emotional and psychological support which is needed by the patient. Similarly, we guide them to develop their own coping strategies to maintain mental peace at work and their lives.

Our strength

The training at Samvedna is provided by the qualified dementia experts who have on field experience in handling the symptoms of dementia. The participants are taught about the disease in detail from the beginning which covers primary causes of dementia, its symptoms, the anatomy of brain and possible ways to handle challenging behaviours in dementia.  We also give the participants an opportunity to share the challenges they encountered in caregiving process. The training programme ends with role plays and detailed discussions around the queries raised by the participants.

We at Samvedna Senior Care aim to help seniors live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community through interactive caregiving.

Samvedna Senior Care was established in October 2013 with two complementary goals – firstly to provide quality home care services to seniors with limited mobility or dementia and hence social interaction, and secondly to facilitate stimulating community interaction and participation.

In-Home Trained Attendant Service

Samvedna Senior Care’s trained in-home attendant service brings to you verified attendants and nurses, specially trained by specialists in elder care and dementia. Our staff is trained to not only take care of your elderly loved one’s physical wellbeing through top class personal care and nursing, but also their emotional wellbeing.  The attendants are monitored by our Senior Care Specialists (psychologists and MSWs)

Our service is available across Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. We offer both male and female attendants as per request, for 12 and 24 hour shifts.

Know more about our Trained Attendant Services here http://www.samvednacare.com/attendant-care-services. You can also call us on 98184 00561 or write to us on contact@samvednacare.com.

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When I set out to start Samvedna in early 2013, honestly, I had a hazy picture of what I wanted to do. The only thing that was clear to me was to make a difference in the lives of seniors, break the mundane routine and do something about their loneliness and social isolation. The idea of an activity centre, a platform for seniors to socialize and also channelize their energy in a positive way, was thus born. Soon we realized that a lot of seniors cannot come to the centre because of mobility issues, hence the home services were developed.

Dementia and other chronic ailments pose a major challenge for the families, understanding and coping with the disease is key and many a times families do not get the right support or diagnosis for their loved ones. I am happy to share that today Samvedna Senior Care provides services to help elderly with dementia as well as support the family. Our counselling services help families, individuals and the patient cope with their situation and manage their conditions. Our in home doctor services help reach out to chronically ill patients and provide a huge relief to the family.

The senior care industry is now recognized as a service sector by CII, much needed to fulfill the huge gap in quality senior care, senior living and nursing and caregiving services. The demand for specialized care homes to meet needs of elderly with chronic ailments like Dementia and palliative care is going to rise. The challenge for the sector will be to provide quality care and services at price points that appeals to different pockets. The other challenge is to build a workforce of care professionals across the spectrum from caregivers, care specialists, physiotherapist and social worker, psychologists and doctors specializing in geriatric care. Due to the gap in adequate infrastructure facilities and to keep the cost of care low, there will be a rise demand for in place ageing solutions.

In the past 5 years we at Samvedna have been working tirelessly to design these solutions and see how best we can serve varied needs of people. We now have two short duration dementia care programmes, Cognitive Wellness Programme and Dementia Cafe, running at our centre to address early dementia patients and give them a social platform, and provide short term relief to families. Our geriatric counselling centres in Gurgaon and Delhi helps address elderly and families needing psycho-social support. Our in house trained elder care attendants provide relief to families who have demanding long term caregiving responsibilities. Our specialized home visit services by counsellors and social workers make a huge difference in the lives of elderly whose children live far away.

We have recently been recognized as one of the 25 best social enterprises by the Yes Foundation, through this support we hope to replicate our centre model and open atleast three more centre over the next two years.

Our warm and compassionate team continues to grow and we would like to encourage people with interest in geriatric care to come join us to help us achieve our mission. Our team also works with academic and scientific societies to share and exchange our experiences working with elderly.

I would like to thank all the people who have stood by me in this arduous journey to promote professional senior care services. Without the encouragement of family, friends and a committed team we would not have accomplished what we have set out to achieve. Here is toasting to more years to Samvedna Senior Care. Cheers !

Warm regards,
Archana Sharma
Founder, Samvedna Senior Care

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This month Samvedna Senior Care completed 5 years. Here are some pictures from our celebration of this beautiful landmark in our journey, made possible by our vibrant members and compassionate team! Many more to come

     

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On 6th October 2018, we conducted our Support Group Meeting for caregivers of dementia patient. A large group of caregivers from in and around Gurgaon and Delhi came to attend the session. The main agenda of the session was to acknowledge the pain of caregivers and to help them in their needs. The topic of the session was “Dementia Management Impact of Social, Physical and Cognitive Interventions. The session was unlocked by Dr. Jayashree Dasgupta, MPhil, PhD, Neuropsychology, NIMHANS, who is the Project Director of Samvedna Senior Care.

It started with a brief icebreaking session where all the participants (caregivers) introduced themselves and shared their experiences about their loved ones and their relation with Samvedna Senior Care.
Dr. Jayashree Dasgupta initiated the talk while focusing on various aspects of caregiving. She shared the concept of stigma and how it affects the mental well-being of family members. One of the caregivers shared why it is important to share the truth about the disorder to the patient instead of hiding it from the patient. In the same discussion some caregivers also pointed out that how difficult it is to apply this notion in Indian context. Further, it was covered the importance of Cognitive Stimulation Activities and why it is important to indulge the patients into activities or hobbies that they use to love doing. Caregivers also shared the issue in socializing and Dr. Jayashree address this issue and suggested solutions. Lastly the session ended with question and answer rounds where some caregivers discussed their problem and how Samvedna Senior Care can help them.

We at Samvedna Senior Care aim to help seniors live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community through interactive caregiving.

Samvedna Senior Care was established in October 2013 with two complementary goals – firstly to provide quality home care services to seniors with limited mobility or dementia and hence social interaction, and secondly to facilitate stimulating community interaction and participation.

Our Dementia Care services are

At-home services –
Dementia intervention activities by trained Care Specialists (already mentioned above). These services are available in Delhi NCR
More – http://www.samvednacare.com/dementia-care
Please call us for more info – Delhi NCR – 98184 21446, 124 4229659

In-Home Trained Attendant Service

Samvedna Senior Care’s trained in-home attendant service brings to you verified attendants and nurses, specially trained by specialists in elder care and dementia. Our staff is trained to not only take care of your elderly loved one’s physical wellbeing through top class personal care and nursing, but also their emotional wellbeing.  The attendants are monitored by our Senior Care Specialists (psychologists and MSWs)

Our service is available across Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. We offer both male and female attendants as per request, for 12 and 24 hour shifts.

Know more about our Trained Attendant Services here http://www.samvednacare.com/attendant-care-services. You can also call us on 98184 00561 or write to us on contact@samvednacare.com.

Counselling for Ageing Related Disorders in Anand Niketan, New Delhi –

Studies show that elderly may be more prone to depression and loneliness, which can lead to higher rates of unhappiness. To address this issue, we have designed counselling and therapies for seniors with anxiety, low mood or depression, mild cognitive impairment/ memory difficulties, or dementia.

More – http://samvednacare.com/geriatric-counselling

Dementia Cafe, Sector 57 Gurgaon –
From initial stage to advanced stage, all individuals with dementia feel the need for social interaction at times. Our Dementia Cafe is a safe and friendly place for your loved one with dementia to chill and socialize. The cafe is aplace where they will find a fun activity, a warm chair and companionship. Every Tuesday and Thursday, 11-1PM.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/dementia-cafe

Cognitive Wellness Programme, Sector 57  Gurgaon  –
Samvedna’s Cognitive Wellness Programme is designed for seniors with mild cognitive impairment, early dementia or Parkinson’s,and elderly lacking in enthusiasm and motivation. The aim is to stimulate the mind of the elderly to slow the progression of the disease or impairment. The sessions are 3 days a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 11AM-1PM.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/cognitive-wellness-programme

Dementia Support Group –

Our Dementia Support group in Delhi NCR and Guwahati is a platform for caregivers to share feelings and support each other.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/dementia-care
Please call us for more info – Delhi NCR – 98184 21446, 124 4229659

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Mr. Malhotra (name changed), a retired IAF officer, lives with his wife (55), who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 53. Mrs. Malhotra has always been an active and independent woman. She is a highly educated woman and was working as a scientist till a few years back.  She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and since then her disease has been progressing rapidly. Mr. Malhotra has been her primary caregiver. Mrs. Malhotra is suffering from some other ailments as well and requires monthly visits to the doctor for review. She is unable to manage her own medicines and gets really hassled every time she goes for a doctor’s review.

When your spouse is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia, roles begin to change. Quite often the caregiver spouse becomes responsible for all aspects of care and it gets exhausting and one experiences a range of emotions like frustration, grief, anger, sadness and guilt.

In the early stage, your loved one should be involved in their medical care. In the later stage, it will be difficult for your spouse living with dementia to understand medication management and purpose of hospital visits. Many dementia patients are also prescribed medicines for other health problems. When so many medicines are prescribed the spouse should have proper knowledge about the purpose and benefits of the medicines and their side effects.

Here are some tips for effective medication management:

  • Develop a routine for giving the medication: Ask the doctor, if the medications should be given at a fixed time of the day, with or without food.
  • Use a Pill Box Organizer: Using a pill box is an easy way to keep the medications organized, and help avoid missing any dose.
  • Create a medication log: Create a list which includes the name, purpose, dosage of the medication.
  • Learn about the side effects of the medications.
  • Expired and discontinued medicines should be discarded

As the disease progresses, it becomes a little more challenging for the spouse to convince their loved one with dementia to take the medications. Sometimes the dementia patient refuses to take medications. Here are some tips to help in such a situation:

  • When you are giving medicines to your spouse with dementia, make sure you both are calm and are in a safe environment, with no distractions, like TV or other  noise.
  • Use simple and clear language. Use short and simple instructions, which is easy to understand.
  • If swallowing big pills is a problem, consider asking the doctor, if the medication is available in other forms. Some medications are available in liquid form as well
  • Keep in mind that no pill or tablet should be crushed without consulting a physician, as it may become ineffective.

Besides medication management another challenge for the care partner is – managing the doctor/hospital visits. Hospitals can be disorienting and disturbing for someone who has been diagnosed with this disease. Comforting the person living with dementia is important during the visits.

Preparing to take your spouse with dementia to the hospital can make a huge difference in how much stress both you and your spouse will experience. Planning hospital visits can make the whole process easier and comfortable for both of you. The first thing is to give enough time to your spouse to get ready for the visit. Hurrying them up or keep them waiting for too long can be counterproductive as the patient may become agitated. If possible enroll another family member or professional caregiver for the visit. This will ensure that someone is with the patient while you are moving around in the hospital for paperwork etc.

Keep the following ready for the visit:

  • Arrange transportation in advance
  • Keep list of all prescriptions and test reports
  • Pack water and some light snacks
  • Keep spare toiletries/diapers

In case your spouse has to be admitted for some procedures or requires hospitalization you may have to take some further precautions.

Night stays in the hospitals can be very disorienting for dementia patients. While the dementia patient is admitted in the hospital, you can take few steps to make the visit more comfortable. Some of the common concerns during hospital stays are communication, nutrition and safety.

Being prepared for the planned hospital visits and emergencies can reduce some stress. Comforting your loved one is important, give them something to hold such as a blanket or a book, which is familiar and comforting to them.

Always remember

  • Create a calm and quiet environment while giving the medicines or taking them for a doctor’s visit
  • Make sure you have all the prescriptions and questions ready for your doctor.

We at Samvedna Senior Care aim to help seniors live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community through interactive caregiving.

Samvedna Senior Care was established in October 2013 with two complementary goals – firstly to provide quality home care services to seniors with limited mobility or dementia and hence social interaction, and secondly to facilitate stimulating community interaction and participation.

Our Dementia Care services are

At-home services –
Dementia intervention activities by trained Care Specialists (already mentioned above). These services are available in Delhi NCR
More – http://www.samvednacare.com/dementia-care
Please call us for more info – Delhi NCR – 98184 21446, 124 4229659

In-Home Trained Attendant Service

Samvedna Senior Care’s trained in-home attendant service brings to you verified attendants and nurses, specially trained by specialists in elder care and dementia. Our staff is trained to not only take care of your elderly loved one’s physical wellbeing through top class personal care and nursing, but also their emotional wellbeing.  The attendants are monitored by our Senior Care Specialists (psychologists and MSWs)

Our service is available across Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. We offer both male and female attendants as per request, for 12 and 24 hour shifts.

Know more about our Trained Attendant Services here http://www.samvednacare.com/attendant-care-services. You can also call us on 98184 00561 or write to us on contact@samvednacare.com.

Counselling for Ageing Related Disorders in Anand Niketan, New Delhi –

Studies show that elderly may be more prone to depression and loneliness, which can lead to higher rates of unhappiness. To address this issue, we have designed counselling and therapies for seniors with anxiety, low mood or depression, mild cognitive impairment/ memory difficulties, or dementia.

More – http://samvednacare.com/geriatric-counselling

Dementia Cafe, Sector 57 Gurgaon –
From initial stage to advanced stage, all individuals with dementia feel the need for social interaction at times. Our Dementia Cafe is a safe and friendly place for your loved one with dementia to chill and socialize. The cafe is aplace where they will find a fun activity, a warm chair and companionship. Every Tuesday and Thursday, 11-1PM.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/dementia-cafe

Cognitive Wellness Programme, Sector 57  Gurgaon  –
Samvedna’s Cognitive Wellness Programme is designed for seniors with mild cognitive impairment, early dementia or Parkinson’s,and elderly lacking in enthusiasm and motivation. The aim is to stimulate the mind of the elderly to slow the progression of the disease or impairment. The sessions are 3 days a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 11AM-1PM.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/cognitive-wellness-programme

Dementia Support Group –

Our Dementia Support group in Delhi NCR and Guwahati is a platform for caregivers to share feelings and support each other.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/dementia-care
Please call us for more info – Delhi NCR – 98184 21446, 124 4229659

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Marriage is a scared union between two people, where the couple vow to hold on to each other for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death separates them apart. But what happens when one of the loved one does not remember, not only the vows, but the spouse with whom he/she took the vows?

Dementia is a chronic brain disorder which tends to have an effect on an individual’s memory and other cognitive abilities, like cohesive thinking, problem solving and language. Due to lack of awareness, understanding and knowledge, people are still taking their time to acknowledge dementia as a disorder. As hard as the diagnosis of dementia hits anyone, it most certainly disturbs the spouse the most.

Imagine to have lived almost all your life with someone and waking up to a realization that she has minimal recognition of you, moreover she has minimal recognition of herself. Let’s look at some of the challenges faced by couples once one of them is diagnosed with Dementia :

  • Definition of marriage changes from romantic partnership of emotional and physical intimacies to a care partnership.
  • The couple gets affected because there is lack of shared activities, emotional support from the other half and most primal of them all, a lack of verbal conversation.
  • Most of the time, the spouse tends to suffer from emotional strain of frustration and annoyance and one third of them tend to suffer from depression.
  • The couple experiences a profound sense of grief, because they feel robbed off their identity as a couple.
  • There is difficulty in continuing with the old social life that the couple once had, for example, going for movies, attending weddings or parties etc. Many a times the partner feels embarrassed because of the spouse’s responses. Also a lack of contribution in conversations results in withdrawal from social circles.
  • The caregiver spouse tends to suffer from a sense of isolation and abandonment.
  • Women caregiver spouse, tend to suffer the most because of painful role reversal and lack of support from the other half. She is now burdened at the domestic front as well has to take control of all the financial, logistics and paperwork.

Understanding the loss of a perfect marriage and recreating the union with new set of vows

It is very challenging to cope with someone who has dementia because the spouse tends to become the primary caregiver, which leads to drastic change in the dynamics of the sacred union called, marriage. This change in dynamics and the diagnosis of the other half is understood only by a level of acceptance, love and duty, keeping in mind the vows that formulate the roots of this relationship. Here are some ways on how to introduce yourself to the new set of rules, how well to adjust to this relationship which has its roots running deep in the dearth of care, and lastly what do and how to cope with your own vulnerabilities.

  1. The First step is to be “Aware”. Once dementia is introduced to the family, it is important to be aware of the disorder, to understand the symptoms, progression, treatment and management of the disease. One should re-look at the financial implications to support the care, treatments and medicines, and lastly be aware of the emotional stress that may impact the relationship.
  2. The second step is to “Accept”. One needs to accept the onset of symptoms, not to take it as an age related behavior, rather accept it and act on it. The couple needs to understand the change in dynamics, the consequences that shall arise and it is very important to accept the partner’s vulnerabilities as he battles with the disease.
  3. The third step is to “Acknowledge” one’s own health. While the spouse gets too engrossed in taking care of the other, it is often noticed that he/she stops taking care of themselves and acknowledging their own health. It is very important to take care of your own physical health needs such as medicines and regular checkups along with the emotional health needs.  One should engage in relaxation exercises like regular walks, socializing with people and practicing yoga.
  4. The fourth step is to “Indulge”. To avoid the sense of loss, abandonment and isolation, the caregiver needs to indulge in self-help activities, to stimulate and re-energize oneself with hope and belief to be able to provide positivity in the new changed relationship. It is important to indulge as a couple and participate in activities which may cognitively stimulate the spouse, reminiscence the old days (looking at old photos, listening to old songs etc.) and to rejuvenate the new relationship on the grounds of an old one.
  5. The fifth step is to “Seek help”. It is important to seek professional help once the spouse is diagnosed with dementia. Enroll in dementia support groups or look for places that provide professional help more coherently, be part of a circle that understands the disorder and empathizes with your vulnerabilities. Try to ease the burden of caregiving by hiring a good caregiver who could support in dealing with challenging behavior and personal care. The caregiver spouse should also enroll friends and relatives who could support in times of need. Start with making them aware about dementia and seek help in whatever way possible – logistics, emotional support, respite care or just good companionship.

Being a caregiver is very hard, especially when the sufferer is one’s own spouse and has been diagnosed with dementia. As a spouse one may feel loss of the partner, a loss of identity and the painful role reversal. With a sense of belonging, understanding and accepting one may achieve the little gratitude towards making someone else’s life meaningful, with a quality check on theirs as well. This can happen only if we acknowledge the above five points, have patience and empathy towards the loved one and live life ‘One day at a time’ –  this one vow will be enough to help one move forward with dignity and compassion.

We at Samvedna Senior Care aim to help seniors live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community through interactive caregiving.

Samvedna Senior Care was established in October 2013 with two complementary goals – firstly to provide quality home care services to seniors with limited mobility or dementia and hence social interaction, and secondly to facilitate stimulating community interaction and participation.

Our Dementia Care services are

At-home services –
Dementia intervention activities by trained Care Specialists (already mentioned above). These services are available in Delhi NCR
More – http://www.samvednacare.com/dementia-care
Please call us for more info – Delhi NCR – 98184 21446, 124 4229659

In-Home Trained Attendant Service

Samvedna Senior Care’s trained in-home attendant service brings to you verified attendants and nurses, specially trained by specialists in elder care and dementia. Our staff is trained to not only take care of your elderly loved one’s physical wellbeing through top class personal care and nursing, but also their emotional wellbeing.  The attendants are monitored by our Senior Care Specialists (psychologists and MSWs)

Our service is available across Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. We offer both male and female attendants as per request, for 12 and 24 hour shifts.

Know more about our Trained Attendant Services here http://www.samvednacare.com/attendant-care-services. You can also call us on 98184 00561 or write to us on contact@samvednacare.com.

Counselling for Ageing Related Disorders in Anand Niketan, New Delhi –

Studies show that elderly may be more prone to depression and loneliness, which can lead to higher rates of unhappiness. To address this issue, we have designed counselling and therapies for seniors with anxiety, low mood or depression, mild cognitive impairment/ memory difficulties, or dementia.

More – http://samvednacare.com/geriatric-counselling

Dementia Cafe, Sector 57 Gurgaon –
From initial stage to advanced stage, all individuals with dementia feel the need for social interaction at times. Our Dementia Cafe is a safe and friendly place for your loved one with dementia to chill and socialize. The cafe is aplace where they will find a fun activity, a warm chair and companionship. Every Tuesday and Thursday, 11-1PM.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/dementia-cafe

Cognitive Wellness Programme, Sector 57  Gurgaon  –
Samvedna’s Cognitive Wellness Programme is designed for seniors with mild cognitive impairment, early dementia or Parkinson’s,and elderly lacking in enthusiasm and motivation. The aim is to stimulate the mind of the elderly to slow the progression of the disease or impairment. The sessions are 3 days a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 11AM-1PM.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/cognitive-wellness-programme

Dementia Support Group –

Our Dementia Support group in Delhi NCR and Guwahati is a platform for caregivers to share feelings and support each other.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/dementia-care
Please call us for more info – Delhi NCR – 98184 21446, 124 4229659

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It was our pleasure to host the students and professors of Heidelberg University, Germany and JNU, Delhi for a workshop on Caring Relations, Caring for Ageing. This is a part of an ongoing DAAD Project, New directions in Active Ageing and Age Friendly Cultures in India and Germany.

At the inauguration of the workshop at JNU, our founder Archana Sharma shared her thoughts with the group on Samvedna’s journey and its challenges and the changing social relationships in context of nuclear families in big cities like Gurgaon.

This was followed up by a field trip by the students to our senior centre in Gurgaon, where they interacted with our members, family caregivers and Samvedna’s staff members. The students had a good insight into various aspects of care and how the families and professionals were working together to help the elderly.

DAAD and The Institute of Gerontology, Heidelberg University also hosted the first film festival on generations at IIC, New Delhi, from
24th – 26th September, 2018. It was a pleasure to hear eminent gerontologist Dr. Andreas Kruse, Heidelberg University and noted film actor and psychiatrist Dr. Mohan Agashe on their insights into some of the films. Our founder Archana Sharma along with Christiane Brosius also moderated one of the discussions for the film – ‘Forget Me Not’ on 25th September.

It was an enriching experience for both the students, Samvedna staff and members to learn from each other and discuss various aspects of ageing across different cultures.

We look forward to more such interactions with Heidelberg University and other academic institutions with focus on ageing curriculums.

Samvedna Senior Care was established in October 2013 with two primary goals – dementia care and active ageing. Our aim is to cater to the intellectual, emotional and physical wellbeing of seniors in Delhi NCR. We help them live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community through interactive caregiving.

Our aim is to provide quality home care services to seniors with limited mobility or dementia, and to facilitate stimulating community interaction and participation.

You can call us on 98184 00561 or write to us on contact@samvednacare.com

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We all get a little nervous when we are advised surgery whether it is for a small procedure like cataract, hernia, prostrate etc. or something more serious like a heart bypass, knee/ hip replacement or Cholecystectomy. For some elderly the decision to go into a surgery can be more traumatizing, especially when the immunity levels are weaker and there are multiple ailments to worry about. Surgical intervention is a stressful process no matter how small the procedure is, and impacts both the physical and psychological recovery.

The following are some of the reasons why one tends to go through a psychological distress and why there is a need for pre and post-operative psychological support:

  1. Fear is one of the major reasons behind an elderly’s psychological stress. The individuals experience this fear because they worry about the damage that would come to their fragile body, there is a premorbid fear of death especially when the risk factors in the surgery are high.
  2. Lack of understanding and knowledge of the procedure can lead to over-thinking the outcome, creating more psychological vulnerabilities. They experience anxiety and stress because of lack of confidence and understanding of the pain. Some of them may become uncooperative during the operation.
  3. Feeling guilty of being a burden on the family for post-operative recovery. This is especially true when the primary caregiver is the elderly’s spouse. The elderly feels that he/she would become a liability on the family, creating more reasons for distress.  In such instance they tend to suffer from insomnia, uneasiness, lack of appetite, fluctuations in blood pressure etc. before the surgery.
  4. Losing independence can also be one of the major reasons for not wanting to go into surgery. When the elderly are used to running things around the house it can be quite a challenge to think of being confined to a bed rest for a period of time.
  5. Cost of surgery can also be a reason for concern for many elderly. They may delay the procedures because of prohibitive costs or because the settlement of bills take too much time.

If the elderly’s worries are not answered, and there is lack of pre-operative support, then the intra-operative stage could suffer critically. The elderly can go through hemodynamic changes, and in some cases serious physiological distresses like bleeding, which can disrupt the recovery.

A critical intra-operative stage leads to a prolonged recovery, which means that there would be an increase in psychological distress post the operation, which may include, infection risk, immobilization of certain body parts, inability to communicate well, restlessness, indigestion, etc.

Pre and post-operative support is very essential and should not be taken lightly, especially in places like India, where these type of support therapies are still overlooked.

Here are some suggestions on how to prepare an elderly for surgery :

  • Pre-surgery :
    1. Typically the surgeon and his team of doctors should counsel the elderly to help understand the need for surgery, what to expect and the recovery time period.
    2. The elderly can also be made aware of the side effects, the medication regime, post-operative care guidelines and recovery period briefly. Setting realistic expectations is best to avoid post-surgery stress.
    3. The elderly must also be evaluated for psychological stress and counselling should be provided to relive any anxiety and emotional concerns.
    4. The counsellor along with the family caregiver should assure of the post-operative care responsibilities and also seek cooperation from the elderly.
    5. It is best to discuss the need/ necessity of a professional caregiver at this time so that the transition to post-operative care is smooth. This is especially important where the post-operative care is longer than 3-4 days.
    6. Help elderly understand how the cost of the surgery is being taken care of and what forms, claims they need to fill. Make them aware of the expected settlement time period for the bills. This will certainly help reduce anxiety.
  • Post-Surgery:
    1. It is important for the family to identify a good psychologist or a therapist who understands and empathizes with the distresses of the elderly. He or she can be engaged to ensure that the elderly is recovering well emotionally.
    2. For elderly with long term recovery, it might be helpful to identify family members or professionals who could visit the elderly regularly and engage them in activities.
    3. The patient’s will and mental health play a very important role in the recovery. Look for signs of despair or depression and provide motivation and release to the patient.
    4. Ensure that the professional care giver is helping adequately with the personal care needs of the elderly and is well aware of the process of recovery, depending on the surgery.
    5. Helping the elderly settle his/her hospital bills through insurance, empaneled hospitals can be a huge relief and reduce a lot of anxiety for them.

There are a lot of organizations which offer such services, where they provide psychological assistance as well as attendant services, with qualified and professional social workers and mental health representatives. This can help reduce the risk factors for delay in recovery and ensure overall well being of the elderly and the family.

Samvedna Senior Care was established in October 2013 with two primary goals – dementia care and active ageing. Our aim is to cater to the intellectual, emotional and physical wellbeing of seniors in Delhi NCR. We help them live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community through interactive caregiving.

Our aim is to provide quality home care services to seniors with limited mobility or dementia, and to facilitate stimulating community interaction and participation.

You can call us on 98184 00561 or write to us on contact@samvednacare.com.

Some of our services:

Counselling for Ageing Related Disorders in Anand Niketan, New Delhi:

Studies show that elderly may be more prone to depression and loneliness, which can lead to higher rates of unhappiness. To address this issue, we have designed counselling and therapies for seniors with anxiety, low mood or depression, mild cognitive impairment/ memory difficulties, or dementia.

More – http://samvednacare.com/geriatric-counselling

General Wellbeing:

With our General Well Being Services we aim to raise the quality of life of seniors, specially those who may have limited mobility and social interaction due to various constraints. Our interactive programme keeps them active and engaged through physical, mental and social activities, all in the comfort of their home.

More – http://samvednacare.com/general-wellbeing

Trained Attendant Services:

Our trained in-home attendant service brings to you verified attendants and nurses, specially trained by specialists in elder care and dementia. Our staff is trained to not only take care of your elderly loved one’s physical wellbeing through top class personal care and nursing, but also their emotional wellbeing.  The attendants are monitored by our Senior Care Specialists (psychologists and MSWs).

Our service is available across Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. We offer both male and female attendants as per request, for 12 and 24 hour shifts.

Know more about our Trained Attendant Services here http://www.samvednacare.com/attendant-care-services.

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We all love our independence in living our lives – the independence to do things, the way we want, whenever we want. Majority of seniors take pride in being able to manage their homes and activities of daily living on their own, however, sometimes this independence is lost due to circumstances beyond control like a – fall, stroke, fracture, surgery, arthritis or other chronic ailments. They are unable to perform day to day activities like taking medications on time, cleaning the house, meal preparation, personal care, health care, etc.

Over a period of time this becomes very frustrating and inconvenient both for the elderly and the family caregivers.  As hard it maybe, it is best to accept the changing physical conditions with dignity and seek help through professional health workers or care attendants to help look after the elderly.

So how does one decide where and what type of attendant to look for? There are so many options available today from unorganized to organized caregivers. How does one decide whether to hire  a personal attendant, nurse, semi- nurse and what really is the difference between them? There are thousands of health care attendants who can meet one’s requirements but a professional attendant must have some essential qualities to perform their job function smoothly, with compassion and care.

A personal care attendant is typically a high school pass out with some certification in caregiving, a nurse is a qualified graduate with experience working in hospitals and is able to administer medical care to the patient like injections, I/V, keeping track of vitals like BP, sugar and medication management. A semi nurse can be tricky, these are typically nursing students or care attendants who have learnt medical care on the job. So one must choose carefully depending on the situation and needs.

Besides this, there are some of important soft skill to look for in a care attendant or nurse:

  1. Patient-Focused: The care attendants must have an eye for detail and should be focused on making the patient feel comfortable.  While selecting an attendant make sure you are clear about your requirements while also keeping in mind the elderly’s likes and dislikes, his/her life style and health conditions. Share this in detail with the companies/ agencies providing the attendants.
  2. Patience: Irritation and short temper does not work well with caring for the elderly. Seniors move more slowly, have trouble achieving simple tasks, and are often affected with illnesses that affect brain functioning hence attendants need to be patient. The attendant should understand that there can be changes in plans, things may not go quickly as planned and there may be little hesitation at times on the part of the person receiving care.
  3. Balanced and hands-on: While appointing an attendant ensure that the care attendant is in a good state of mind, he/she is well aware of the problem/issue of the patient. It might be worth checking the attendant’s past experience in handling difficult situation and his/her ability to understand verbal and non-verbal cues from the elderly.
  4. Punctuality: Since your personal routine will be dependent on the attendant’s arrival and departure, punctuality becomes critical. Always try to source attendants from nearby locations in order to avoid travel and transportation hassles.  Ensure that your attendant is well-rested, a good night’s sleep helps to better cope with the demanding tasks of caregiving.
  5. Empathy: Seniors are at a state where they don’t want pity from others and at the same time they don’t want a care attendant who ignores their emotional needs. A good attendant must respect the needs of the elderly to be independent but at the same time be tactful in knowing when to take control. Look out for these qualities of compassion and care – a detailed interview, a reference, training feedback can help here.  
  6. Responsible:  Make sure the attendant can help you setup a routine for the elderly, now this may take some time, so tread with caution and don’t stress your loved one or put too much pressure on the attendant. Help with a routine chart for medicines, meal timings, personal care activities and socializing routine. Make sure your attendant has all the important numbers to call in case of emergencies. Give specific instructions for situations you may want to be alerted about of your loved one.  
  7. Communication Skills– Good communication and good understanding of language will help to start a conversation with the patient. Most attendants should naturally enjoy helping others and should have gone through special trainings on how to give attention and care to elderly.
    Language shouldn’t be a barrier, request for someone who may have working knowledge of your native language, if possible. An attendant from your language and culture can really help  build a good relationship and will help your loved one in expressing themselves freely.
  8. Reliable: While hiring a care attendant check valid identification proof for example- Aadhar Card, Pan Card or Voter ID Card. If possible ask the care company/agency to provide references on shortlisted candidates.

Finally we have some tips for you to make your relationship with your caregiver most productive

    • It is important to give some ownership to the attendant/nurse and allow him/her to make small decisions on your behalf.
    • A mindful caregiver may have his own way of handling the elderly, given him/her some leeway to build rapport with your loved one.
    • Acknowledge the help you are getting by the care attendant, it’s a tough job and a little appreciation can really help boost their self-esteem.

The care attendant and patient relationship is not just based on performing of tasks and responsibilities but also one of companionship and trust. A caregiver will play a significant part of the life of a senior aging at home. Caregiving can be rewarding knowing that they provide help and support for someone who isn’t able to do that all by themselves. They are here to make life easier, better, happier, and more fun for seniors. And these special qualities are what make all the difference between an average care attendant and a professional care attendant.

Samvedna Senior Care’s trained in-home attendant service brings to you verified attendants and nurses, specially trained by specialists in elder care and dementia. Our staff is trained to not only take care of your elderly loved one’s physical wellbeing through top class personal care and nursing, but also their emotional wellbeing.  The attendants are monitored by our Senior Care Specialists (psychologists and MSWs)

Our service is available across Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida. We offer both male and female attendants as per request, for 12 and 24 hour shifts.

Know more about our Trained Attendant Services here http://www.samvednacare.com/attendant-care-services. You can also call us on 98184 00561 or write to us on contact@samvednacare.com.

Samvedna Senior Care was established in October 2013 with two primary goals – dementia care and active ageing. Our aim is to cater to the intellectual, emotional and physical wellbeing of seniors in Delhi NCR. We help them live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community through interactive caregiving.

Our aim is to provide quality home care services to seniors with limited mobility or dementia, and to facilitate stimulating community interaction and participation.

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Mr. Sharma (name changed), a retired Grade A officer with one of the departments of the Government of India, now 78, lives with his wife in the home that they built after his retirement.

Mrs. Sharma has always been a home maker , and feels that she is now taking care of another child at home referring to her husband of 51 years. Mr. Sharma was diagnosed with dementia in late 2016, making Mrs. Sharma his primary care giver.

Proud parents of two very successful sons, Mr. and Mrs. Sharma are one of the many couples experiencing the challenges which dementia has brought into their lives. The first time I met the Sharma family, it was a very sad and emotional state. Shortly after my first meeting with them, Mr. Sharma was clinically diagnosed with dementia but he had probably started developing the symptoms much earlier but the family failed to understand them.

One and a half years after the diagnosis, Mr. and Mrs. Sharma are still learning every day about the disease and its various aspects. Roles are more blurry now in the house. Once the head of the family, Mr. Sharma now needs help with almost all his activities of daily living and routine. Mrs. Sharma has now become the sole caretaker of the house doing most of the work on her own with all the help she is willing to take. The struggle with dementia still continues because of the little awareness about the disease in the society.

Mr. and Mrs. Sharma are not the only couple whose lives have been changed forever due to dementia. Banerjees (name changed) are another couple coping with dementia. Mr. Banerjee, 87, himself a depression patient has been finding it so difficult to manage the changing behavior his wife has been showing in the past few years. Mrs. Banerjee was diagnosed with vascular dementia and had to slowly leave all household chores and home management tasks as her decision making capabilities were gradually declining.

In another case Mr. Verma (name changed) had to leave his job to take care of his wife who is in now in a moderate stage of dementia.

Awareness of dementia is low in India, families accept the disease the way they understand it. For some they feel their elderly is running away from responsibilities and has become lethargic. There is a strong denial, lack of understanding and unwillingness to accept the situation. Others give up their hopes when they learn that there is no cure to the disease and leave it to destiny. Some families may become overprotective of the elderly and may deny them decision making and control their lives completely. The key here is to understand the challenges and decide on how best to take care of the elderly and the situation. What impacts a couple the most is “the change in roles”. The roles that the elderly was always taking care of become difficult for him/her to perform over a period of time. It also leads to changes in the dynamics of the family relationships.

Here is how the family dynamics and roles change for the spouse with primary care giving responsibilities:

1) Acceptance – This is the first step in dealing with the situation, many times the spouse is not able to accept the disease. He/she will be in denial, relate it to old age, loneliness etc. They may try multiple ways of solving the problem by seeking alternative remedies, treatments and even religious rituals. Therefore it is important for the spouse to realize that dementia is a neuro-degenerative disease and it will require continuous long term care and life style changes for the family.

2) Self-care and health – The primary caregiver and in this case the elderly spouse will foremost need to take care of his/ her health. This is very important as care giver stress can further impact health of the spouse.

3) Finance management – This becomes especially challenging if the husband was the primary person in charge of finances. Many a times the wife has to struggle to understand the details and banking paperwork and other aspects. It can become quite stressful to manage such a responsibility if the wife has never been involved in such decisions earlier.

4) Loss of independence – When one of the spouses becomes the primary caregiver, he/she ends up losing their independence as they are now additionally burdened with care giving responsibilities.

5) Legal paperwork – The caregiver spouse has to understand all the legal paperwork related to taxes, property, banks, investments and pension etc. to be able to manage the transactions on their own.

6) Caregiver stress – The care giving spouse must do his/her best to keep the social life active and have avenues to de-stress and relax. When the couple lives alone this can cause tremendous fatigue and depression in the care giving spouse.

7) Lack of support  – When a couple is living alone it is important for them to ensure that they have adequate help and support at hand to meet the additional care giving responsibilities. Many times the spouse in charge refuses to take help or tries to do it all alone. This can severely impact the health of both the patient and care giving spouse.

8) Medications and hospitals visits – Taking care of doctor visits, medication management become an additional chore which has to be managed by the spouse.

9) Changes in relationships – When one’s spouse is diagnosed with dementia the couple’s relationship changes completely from a relationship of inter dependence to one of dependence. The care giving spouse slowly loses his/her life companion and begins to miss out on the activities they used to do as a couple.

These are just some of the areas that are affected if one of the spouses is diagnosed with dementia. We will be discussing each one of these aspects in more detail in our subsequent blogs.

It is very difficult when a spouses gets a disease like dementia. But if one can make the best of the situation and enjoy the moments of joy and happiness amidst all the confusion and forgetfulness, it can reduce some of the stress.

Always remember

  • There is no right or wrong way of handling the disease; there are “your ways”.
  • Love, care, support, understanding and encouragement are essence of any care giving.
  • Self-care should not be lost when one is taking care of anyone else as well.

We at Samvedna Senior Care aim to help seniors live happy, active and independent lives, in the comfort of their home and community through interactive caregiving.

Samvedna Senior Care was established in October 2013 with two complementary goals – firstly to provide quality home care services to seniors with limited mobility or dementia and hence social interaction, and secondly to facilitate stimulating community interaction and participation.

Our Dementia Care services are

At-home services –
Dementia intervention activities by trained Care Specialists (already mentioned above). These services are available in Delhi NCR
More – http://www.samvednacare.com/dementia-care
Please call us for more info – Delhi NCR – 98184 21446, 124 4229659

Counselling for Ageing Related Disorders in Anand Niketan, New Delhi –

Studies show that elderly may be more prone to depression and loneliness, which can lead to higher rates of unhappiness. To address this issue, we have designed counselling and therapies for seniors with anxiety, low mood or depression, mild cognitive impairment/ memory difficulties, or dementia.

More – http://samvednacare.com/geriatric-counselling

Dementia Cafe, Sector 57 Gurgaon –
From initial stage to advanced stage, all individuals with dementia feel the need for social interaction at times. Our Dementia Cafe is a safe and friendly place for your loved one with dementia to chill and socialize. The cafe is aplace where they will find a fun activity, a warm chair and companionship. Every Tuesday and Thursday, 11-1PM.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/dementia-cafe

Cognitive Wellness Programme, Sector 57  Gurgaon  –
Samvedna’s Cognitive Wellness Programme is designed for seniors with mild cognitive impairment, early dementia or Parkinson’s,and elderly lacking in enthusiasm and motivation. The aim is to stimulate the mind of the elderly to slow the progression of the disease or impairment. The sessions are 3 days a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 11AM-1PM.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/cognitive-wellness-programme

Dementia Support Group –

Our Dementia Support group in Delhi NCR and Guwahati is a platform for caregivers to share feelings and support each other.
More – http://www.samvednacare.org/our-work/dementia-care
Please call us for more info – Delhi NCR – 98184 21446, 124 4229659

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