Sunday, September 25


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They created waves with their trembling hands, extended their feet to feel the seawater and bliss was written all over their elderly faces. Sitting miles away from the sea, a group of 30 elderly people, who were part of a 300-strong gathering, let their imagination run wild and they smiled as they recreated moments on the beach at a city auditorium on Tuesday. The audience, who had turned up to take part in a dance movement therapy session for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease, was a mix of patients, caregivers and others who wanted to be sensitised about the ailment. Dance movement therapy is an addition to the existing ways to treat the disease as doctors at the event said that it was important to keep the patients motivated and also answer their emotional needs. They said that like physiotherapy, which is key to treating patients with Parkinson’s disease, dance movement therapy helps ease their body that tends to become stiff Organised by specialised caregiver firm for the elderly, Care Continuum, in association with The Telegraph, it was the second Annual Parkinson’s Day Awareness Programme. The event took off with facilitators sharing basic information about Parkinson’s and its telltale signs such as slowness of movement, trembling hands and rigidity. The session moved on with speakers, including a neurologist, a physiotherapist, an occupation therapist, a psychologist, a nurse with specialised training and a dance movement therapist, taking part in a panel discussion on “The role of a multidisciplinary team in PD (Parkinson’s Disease)” Addressing the gathering, main speaker and head of neurology at the Institute of Neurosciences, Calcutta, Hrishikesh Kumar said: “A neurologist can give medicines to a Parkinson’s patient, a physiotherapist can help them with exercises, but there are deeper emotional needs of these patients. They are often lonely and misunderstood and that needs to be addressed. New modalities of treatment such as dance movement therapy have been found to encourage such patients come out of their shells.” Shyamali Pal, who specialises in treating Parkinson’s patients, said caregivers needed to show patience while dealing with such patients as they become slow and even freeze at times while doing something “It’s easy for someone who is not conversant with their problem to think that they are just being difficult, while that is not the case. They just have to be cajoled and encouraged to complete the task,” Pal said The last session of the evening brought smiles to these elderly patients as they joined dance therapist Shubha Bangur in using hand movements to create waves on the beach, imitate a wind and make their body sway to it, and let the birds fly. Each body movement had a story to tell and the session ended with the audience splashing seawater on their faces, of course in their imagination but their glee was all real “Unlike in dance, steps are not taught in dance movement therapy. The big and small movements help Parkinson’s patients release their emotions, something they are not capable of doing through speech or in written words. This emotional release leads to their well being,” said Bangur General surgeon Rana Mukherjee, one of the co-founders of Care Continuum, said apart from providing physiotherapy and nursing support for Parkinson’s patients, the organisation had started specialised treatment modalities such as occupational therapy and dance movement therapy for them.

Source: Telegraph India

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