By Patrick Edward Musisi
A Mukono medical officer in charge of the elderly has begun a research on the state of the elderly in the hands of fellow aged care givers, especially in the face of an increase in the prevalence of a health problem diagnosed as dementia.
In medical terms, dementia is the state of health among people of advanced age, characterized by acute memory loss, tension and uneasiness, which in effect compounds other ailments coming with old age.
Mukono Deputy District Health Officer Isaac Ddumba who is also the focal person responsible for the aged, is conducting the research ahead of his travel to Canada later this month, where he is scheduled to address a medical practitioners’ conference, with the aged people’s health as a top agenda item.
Ddumba, in company of other health workers, on Friday visited the home of Mr. and Mrs. Levi and Manjeri Lutwama aged 98 and 84 years respectively, at their home at Ssisa in Wakiso district.
The husband has acute dementia and according to the wife, she is the only person he does not forget, but keeps asking other household members including his biological children and grandchildren, who they are, every time they come to give him attention.
As if to prove this, Mzee Lutwama several times in a spate of about ten minutes, asked her daughter, one of the medical workers who traveled with Ddumba, who she is although each time she clearly explained that she is his youngest daughter.
Manjeri said that in addition to memory loss, Lutwama is often attacked by bouts of fever and other ailments, which she said has weakened him. She added however that his appetite is high and that he eats well especially when the meal has milk on it.
She also said that he has constant medical attention from relatives and family friends, and that the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the area gives them usables.
According to Ddumba, dementia is known to affect even people of a younger age, but that it is very pronounced among the aged, adding that government has no care centres for the aged.