The Dubai Health Authority posts Instagram guidelines on how to take care of elderly people
The Dubai Health Authority's Instagram post on guidelines on how to take care of elderly people. Image Credit: Courtesy: Instagram/Dubai Health Authority

Dubai: As senior citizens with mild cognitive impairment face early onset of dementia and the prospect of depression, Dr Salwa Al Suwaidi, director of Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA) Seniors’ Happiness Centre provides an insight into how to avoid depression on the occasion of World Alzheimer’s Day on September 21.

The Seniors’ Happiness Centre’s Alzheimer’s support group is holding an awareness event to mark the day. Dr Al Suwaidi stressed the importance of setting a daily routine for all elders, especially those with Alzheimer’s, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic as many seniors have to face restrictions with regard to meeting their near and dear ones and also on their movement. All that can trigger depression.

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“Elders with mild cognitive impairment were getting depressed. I’ve noticed that in some cases, they were even having early onset of dementia. This is because they suddenly couldn’t socialise or go out as much. We have daily activities for the elders at the centre to ensure they remain socially and mentally alert and happy. But when all that stopped because of coronavirus, it really affected them,” Dr Al Suwaidi said.

Having a daily routine

She emphasised the importance of setting a daily routine for elders: “They should wake up at a certain time, have breakfast at a certain time, go for a walk at a set time, etc. This will ensure that they have a fulfilling purposeful day. Having a daily routine will also benefit the care giver in dealing with the case. This is the most important piece of advise that I can give to care takers, especially during this period.”

The Seniors’ Happiness Centre, which is home to 20 inpatients and more than 300 outpatients, has had 2,465 visits from elders and has been of great benefit to them because of its geriatric clinic, physical medicine and rehabilitation clinic, diet clinic and social activities, to name a few.

Alzheimer’s Support group holds awareness event

To further raise awareness among the community about Alzheimer’s and to provide a platform for care-givers to share experiences on how to cope with Alzheimer’s, Dr Al Suwaidi said the centre’s Alzheimer’s Support Group, which was launched in 2013, is holding an event on World Alzheimer’s Day, which falls on September 21 of every year.

“The centre regularly holds this support group where a multidisciplinary team educates care-givers on how to cope and handle challenges associated with Alzheimer’s. This time, the support group will discuss the social and medical aspects of dementia, rehabilitation in Alzheimer’s, common health problems in the elderly, nursing care for Alzheimer’s management, sundown syndrome and the role of family support, to name a few.”

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The centre has an experienced group of doctors, specialists in geriatric medicine, physiotherapy and nutrition, as well as social and guidance specialities. It also has an advanced and sophisticated set of medical equipment, physiotherapy and fitness facilities, as well as facilities and services suitable for the elderly.