ELDERLY people require more attention, more care and love from their family members. These days, people above the age of 60 reconcile themselves to the fact that with old age they will face gradual memory loss and other age-related diseases. The ageing population is increasing all over the world due to more comfort, better lifestyle, life supporting systems and healthy foods. But, many senior citizens are forgetting the names of their loved ones. Corrective options are not far away. Many of us feel, ‘Adding life to years is the need of the day.’
Dementia: Dementia is a serious loss of cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person beyond what might be expected from normal aging. Dementia may occur independently or be associated with Parkinson’s disease or stroke. As we age, the brain starts losing neurons which in turn affects short-term memory. Dementia or memory loss that includes the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease silently makes the afflicted person’s life slow and difficult.
Actually in dementia, the Vaata-dosha gets aggravated and Kapha is depleted. Kapha is the base of all activities related to memory and is unctuous personified. The brain is in a state of unctuousness, that is, its cells are well lubricated with all essential fluids including neuro-transmitters without any blockage. The memory of a person will be intact if Kapha facilitates this condition.
Management of dementia: Dementia is not an easy condition to treat. It needs medicines, lifestyle changes, good diet and proper counseling. NidanaParivarjana (avoidance of causative factors) is an important component of treatment. Exposure to toxic substances and excessive consumption of alcohol should be avoided. Metabolic, endocrine disorder and vascular diseases, if any, should be managed first.
For people in tropical countries, taking a daily oil massage or at least once a week proves to be quite beneficial. It improves the functions of the neural system and activates the cells. Seven days of Dhara with oils such as Lakshadi mixed with Ksheerabala is very effective. Dhara serves as an important tool to improve memory. Medicines prepared from Ashwagandha, Satavari, Brahmi and Amla are quite helpful in the management of dementia. It is most important to improve the digestive and tissue metabolism because proper assimilation of food or medicine is a prerequisite for improvement of these conditions. Consumption of small quantities of cow’s ghee (one teaspoon) added with a little bit of AshtaChoornam (one-fourth teaspoon), one teaspoon of Brahmi juice (Bacopamonnieri) and half teaspoon of onion juice in the morning on an empty stomach for 41 days is a good prescription for dementia. Application of cooling hair oils like Brahmithailam etc. is also advisable.
A few tips to prevent and manage dementia:
Pure cow’s ghee is actually the nectar of life. Daily use of ghee with hot food at least once a day helps to maintain a healthy long life. Ghee is the only food which Ayurveda considers synonymous with longevity. There are some medicinal plants which are very useful in improving memory and increasing alertness.