Alzheimer’s is a word that most of us have come across but don’t know about. All we know is it has something to do with memory loss. Films have tried to depict this with powerful stories such as Black and Godi Banna Sadharana Mayikattu, but, we tend to forget once we leave the theatre. Forum Mall is now on a mission to help us “remember those who don’t remember”.
September is known as Alzheimer’s month and purple is the colour of the Alzheimer’s awareness. Forum Mall, Koramangala, is hosting ThePurpleRun in association with NIMHANS to create awareness of this mental disease on September 24. The run will be held across five malls in four cities.
The run was announced with a panel discussion, featuring experts from NIMHANS including Dr Mathew Verghese, Professor of Psychiatry, Dr Nagaraja Rao Girish, Professor of Epidemiology and Dr PT Sivakumar, Consultant in Geriatric Psychiatry.
A short film was screened and visitors to the mall were asked what they knew about Alzheimer’s disease. Most said they did not know about the disease. Dr Verghese spoke of the identification and prevention of Alzheimer’s. “It starts at the age of 20. Whatever physical exercise you do in your younger days prevents you from all kinds of physical and mental deterioration in your older age. Dementia is synonymous with Alzheimer’s. Majority of dementia patients will have Alzheimer’s, which causes people to forget. Fortunately or unfortunately it is a disease of the old age. Memory loss, however, is not a part of old age. It is a part of a disease and can be prevented. The best way to prevent it is by avoiding poor diet, alcohol and smoking. Do it now so you are mentally healthy 20 or 30 years later. It is important for youngsters to take care of their mental health now.”
Verghese said this year many countries, including India, have signed up to fight Alzheimer’s. “In the coming 10 years we will fight the disease and create awareness amongst the youth.”
“Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia,” said Mohammed Ali, COO Prestige Retail, the brains behind the initiative. “It is the fifth leading cause of death in people over 55 years of age. In India, more than four million suffer from various forms of this illness.”
On the reason for the run, Ali said, “I have heard the saying, ‘What you hear you forget, what you see you remember, but what you do, you understand.’ That is our mission. We want people to understand what Alzheimer’s is and what we can do.”
The actor Sanjjana was also part of the discussion. Sanjjana said she “will speak using films as an example. I was aware of Alzheimer’s when I watched Black. Ever since I have been reading about it. It is good that this cause is being highlighted. Today life is so commercial. I request the media, which normally blows up stories about actors and controversies to speak about this cause through their writing. The best part is this run is not for just the trained, but for everyone.”