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A few days ago we received a call around 8.30 am. A lady spoke hastily, “I need an ayah for 12 hours a day for a month for taking care of my ailing father.” She paused for a moment and then continued, “Well, you see, I feel a caregiver can also do the job. There is no need for an ayah even if it is going to be a tad expensive.” We were a bit confused and irritated. With due politeness we asked, “Madam, are you sure your father needs a caregiver and not an ayah?” Pat came the reply, “Dono same hi toh hai. I believe a caregiver is a more sophisticated version of an ayah.” We kept quiet for a moment and then explored with her the reasons for which she needed caregiver assistance. To cut the long story short, we realized the importance of conveying to our readers the role of a caregiver for the elderly.

Roles of a Caregiver

  1. Assisting with personal care: bathing and grooming, dressing, toileting, and exercise

  2. Basic food preparation: preparing meals, shopping, housekeeping, laundry, and other errands

  3. General health care: overseeing medication and prescriptions usage, appointment reminders and administering medicine

  4. Mobility assistance: help with getting in and out of a wheelchair, car or shower

  5. Personal supervision: providing constant companionship and general supervision

  6. Transportation: driving to and from activities, running errands, and help getting in and out of wheelchair-accessible vehicle

  7. Emotional support: being a stable companion and supporter in all matters personal, health-related and emotional

  8. Care for the elderly: orienting or grounding someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, relaying information from a doctor to family members

  9. Back-up care (or respite) services: providing other caregivers a break

  10. Home organization: help with organizing, packing or cleaning for a trip, or general house care and cleaning

  11. Health monitoring: following a care plan and noticing any changes in the individual’s health, recording and reporting any differences


Thus, it is quite evident that the role of caregiver requires specialized skills set which comes only through training and practice. It also calls for certain degree education preferably graduation, or how else is a caregiver is going to provide an elderly person necessary emotional support? The scope of caregiver’s role is quite vast as it encompasses not only assisting with personal care but also home organization. Obviously, in this context the role of an ayah is usually limited to assisting with personal care and mobility assistance.


Last weekend we met at a café in Hindustan Park (South Kolkata) for the weekly review meeting. For a change it was not our office in Diamond Park (Joka). While savouring the rich aroma of Colombian coffee our eyes fell on a statement displayed against a wall claiming consumption of coffee may help in arresting dementia and Alzheimer. We were intrigued and thus, decided to do a bit of study on our own and understand what has recent advances in the field of medicine has to offer to us. The following sections are an attempt to summarize the findings.


a) A research paper published in Nutrition (Volume 32, Issue 6, June 2016, Pages 628-636) on“Habitual coffee consumption and risk of cognitive decline/dementia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies” concluded by stating that the study suggested higher coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk for Alzheimer disease. However, it was added further, randomized controlled trials, or well-designed cohort studies are needed to determine the association between coffee consumption and cognitive decline, or dementia.

b) In yet another paper on “Coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption and prevention of late-life cognitive decline and dementia: A systematic review” in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging (March 2015, Volume 19, issue 3, pp. 313–328| observed that given the very limited therapeutic value of drugs currently used in the treatment of Alzheimer Disease(AD) and dementia, preventing or postponing the onset of AD and delaying or slowing its progression are becoming mandatory. Among diet-associated factors, coffee is best known psychoactive stimulant resulting in heightened alertness and arousal and improvement of cognitive performance. Besides its short-term effect, study of some long-term effects on brain function provided evidence that coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption or higher plasma caffeine levels may be protective against cognitive impairment/decline and dementia.

c) A research article “Association between Coffee Consumption and Incident Risk of Disabling Dementia in Elderly Japanese: The Ohsaki Cohort 2006 Study”in Journal of

Alzheimer’s Disease(Vol. 50, No. 2, pp. 491-500, 2016)investigated the association between coffee consumption and incident risk of dementia in an elderly Japanese population. 23,091 subjects aged ≥65 y living in Ohsaki City, northeastern Japan, responded to the baseline survey in 2006. It was observed that overall, coffee consumption was significantly associated with a lower risk of incident dementia. In addition, this significant inverse association was more remarkable among women, non-smokers, and non-drinkers. Coffee consumption is significantly associated with a lower risk of incident dementia.


The above research papers have not drawn any conclusive evidence of coffee consumption reducing the debilitating impact of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease on an individual. However, they have unequivocally indicated that it acts as protective against cognitive impairment/decline and dementia. Perhaps more research needs to be done in this domain before the clinching evidence can be drawn. It may also be noted that none of the research papers consulted by us seem to have included the Indian populace. Who knows the results may then then be quite different?

"Those with dementia are still people and they still have stories and they still have character and they're all individuals and they're all unique. And they just need to be interacted with on a human level." -Carey Mulligan

When a parent, partner, or someone else you love gets diagnosed with dementia, you want to do everything possible to help them, including their memory, thinking skills, mood, and behavior.

It’s a lot to take in. But there are steps that can help.There are also other kinds of therapies that may help with their daily life.


No medication can cure dementia. But some may help with some of the symptoms for a time.


These approaches might help jog your loved one’s memory and thinking skills -- or at least give them pleasure and brighten their day. Make sure anything they try helps their quality of life and doesn’t make them feel frustrated or overwhelmed.

  • Animator Counseling (Trained mental health professional)

  • Reminiscence therapy

  • Reality orientation training

  • Lifestyle Changes

  • Stay active

  • Prioritize good sleep

  • Focus on foods

  • Challenge the brain

For Dementia Patient Care

Call us : +91 8420753875 / +91 8697131764

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