John Jefferson V. Besa
In today’s society, dementia is a word loosely used. The fallacy of it being a natural phenomenon of aging still exists, and more often than not, it is equated with easily forgetting things and intermittently failing to remember tasks. However, dementia is more than such, and the 1st Dementia Care Forum held last July 27, 2013 at the Philippine International Convention Center clearly drew the line.
Participated by people from all walks of life ranging from training caregivers to medical students, the 1st Dementia Care Forum opened the eyes of the participants in what dementia care is all about. The forum was graced by local and foreign speakers from the Dementia Society of the Philippines, Philippine Society for Geriatric & Gerontology and Japanese Society for Dementia Care (JSDC). Commencing the program proper was a welcoming speech delivered by Dr. Peter Mancao, a cardiovascular surgeon from Cebu Doctor’s University and Dr. Jacqueline Dominguez, Vice President of the Dementia Society of the Philippines. Afterwards, a series of lectures were given starting with Dr. Eduardo Poblete, President of the Philippine Society for Geriatric & Gerontology who talked about the current situation of dementia care in the Philippines. This was then followed by a similar lecture from Dr. Yukimichi Imai, President of WAKO Hospital and Vice-President of JSDC who gave the participants a different perspective in dementia care by highlighting the current situation in Japan. Then, the bulk of the forum was dedicated to a practical course for dementia care complemented by an optional concise booklet crafted by the Japanese Society for Dementia Care. Armed with a passion in caring for dementia patients, Dr. Masahiro Shigeta, Vice President of the Tokyo Metropolitan University JSDC Committee, effectively lectured this course through his simple but comprehensive presentations and entertaining yet informative videos training the participants in developing a keen sense of judgment in differentiating dementia from similar presenting illnesses and diagnosing its early signs for immediate medical intervention. Finally, the forum was concluded by a closing remark from Ms. Margie-Lyn R. Caparas, Business Development Manager of Gerontics Information and Management System (GIMS) Philippines.
At the end of the forum, three salient take-home points emerged. First, detecting early signs of dementia requires no medical degree but rather a keen sense of judgment on cognitive, psychological and behavioral changes. Second, though no known cure for dementia is yet available, early medical attention proves to aid in slowing down this degenerative disorder. And third, the life of a dementia patient can still be fulfilling as long as adequate support and understanding from the family and society are wholeheartedly given.
The 1st Dementia Care Forum is organized by the Gerontics Information and Management System (GIMS) International and GIMS Philippines in cooperation with the Philippine Society of Dementia Care, the Dementia Society of the Philippines (DSP) and Geriatric Nurses Association of the Philippines (GNAP). Members of the Asian Medical Students Association – Philippines were invited to the said forum and were given exclusive discounts by the organizers. We do hope that our good relationship with the organizers would continue.
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