India, although a young country, is ageing fast as birth rates go down and life expectancy increases; with Goa being the state with second highest percentage of elderly in the country. Even then, there is a huge dearth of quality services that are available for senior citizens.
The COOJ Geriatric and Dementia Program was started with the main goal of improving the quality of life of senior citizens. It promotes health, well-being, and independence through recreation, creative and therapeutic activities, support services and information. This approach helps in motivating and inspiring the elderly to understand the essence of being happy and further increases their life satisfaction which, in turn, helps us to serve them better.
AIMS and OBJECTIVES
• To improve the overall wellbeing of the geriatric population
• To provide specific rehabilitation services for people with dementia
• To provide for assessment and treatment for memory problems
• To encourage social connectedness and remove isolation
• To promote skill enhancement and development
• To provide therapeutic interventions for normal aging, as well as dementia
• To reduce caregiver burden through services like support groups, domiciliary care and training
• To create awareness about geriatric mental health and dementia
PROGRAMS / SERVICES
Here’s a glimpse into the activities:
ART and Craft – (photos) Basic skills like painting, cutting, sticking, etc are often retained in people with dementia. These seemingly simple creative tasks are useful from a therapeutic point of view. There’s very little scope of failure and they increase finger dexterity and concentration levels too!
Music and Dance – (photos) there’s a reason why some of our seniors remember all the words to “Que Sera Sera” even when they can’t recall the names of their children! Music has the power to evoke emotions, which often bring memories and stimulates positive interactions. Singing or playing instruments together is a great way to participate socially and feel engaged. Music also leads to movement and dancing – from simply tapping our feet – to breaking out in a waltz, these sessions are often really high in energy!!
Games and Cognitive Remediation – (photos) Simple exercises like reading, matching cards, jigsaw, word and number puzzles work on several areas including:
• Problem Solving
• Verbal Memory
• Visual Memory
• Attention skills
• Fine Motor Control
Activities are designed keeping in mind the functioning level of each individual, and our staff and volunteers are always present to assist where needed.
- Therapeutic Services – provided to seniors living in aged homes as well as the community. The services also include training of staff, caregivers and volunteers to look into the mental health needs of the elderly. The main goal here is addressing the vast gap between the need for and the availability of quality services for the elderly in AGED HOMES. (photos). This is achieved through training.
- Therapeutic Interventions conducted in individual & group settings
Empowerment of staff and volunteers – through training
- Social Programs – these events aim at providing the much needed interactive entertainment for seniors. Some of the programs we have had so far are
- Golden Stage 2015, 2016, 2017 (photos)
DaanUtsav 2015, 2016 (photos)
WHO NEEDS IT ?
Older adults have special healthcare needs that can make their medical care more complicated. Some of the more common problems that arise with age are:
• Immobility & Instability – prolonged inactivity leads to muscle weakness, significant functional decline and reduced quality of life. This also leads to physical instability, arthritis and slowed reflexes.
• Impaired Vision and Hearing – While vision problems lead to falls from tripping over unseen objects, hearing problems can lead to social isolation, depression, and dependence as the person can no longer talk to other people, receive information over the telephone, or engage in simple transactions.
• Impaired intellect/memory – Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, cause a long term and often gradual decrease in the senior’s ability to think and remember. Other common symptoms include emotional problems, problems with language, and a decrease in motivation. To learn more about Dementia, read this.
• Isolation, or a deep sense of loneliness, is a common complaint of many elderly. Social contacts tend to decrease as we age for a variety of reasons, including retirement, the death of friends and family, or lack of mobility. Regardless of the causes of senior isolation, the consequences can be alarming and even harmful.
HOW WILL IT HELP ?
Being truly heard can make a huge difference in a senior’s life and the main factor that predicts thriving in older age is whether the person feels engaged in his or her life. The program’s benefits include:
• Helping the elderly to feel more connected and less isolated through regular social and interactive activities
• Providing assessment and treatment opportunities for seniors facing memory problems
• Providing various platforms for them to exercise and maintain their cognitive, emotional and physical abilities
• Motivating and inspiring them to find and sustain their self-worth and confidence.
• Reducing caregiver burden through various support services
• To create innovative and cost-effective ways to reach out to more seniors across Goa
• To reach out to caregivers so we can create a bigger network of support
• To partner with other organizations doing similar work
• To create a model for elder care that can be replicated by other groups
Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you. Isaiah 46:4