Today's session was led by Annette and Tija. This was a busy and informative session and was attended by over 40 people including three volunteers and Dr Angela.
The theme for today was "You Are What You Eat." We talked about healthy eating habits, what items to include in a healthy, balanced diet, how to use herbs and spices to improve the flavour of food and reduce salt intake. Potted herbs brought in by Dr Angela had been placed on the tables and members were asked to identify the herbs and tell us how they used them.
We also looked at fluid intake and the need to avoid being dehydrated. The signs and effects of dehydration were discussed.
Members were asked to name fruits and vegetables using every letter of the alphabet as a guide. Jokes involving food were shared, followed by a quiz based on food. Mealtimes were discussed, stressing the need for carers to make this a special time for the person living with dementia so that they look forward to their meals.
Food labelling was discussed and items were passed around to demonstrate what to look out for as guidelines to buying healthy items from the supermarket. Members found this awareness useful. It was a highly informative session and members were enlightened about healthy eating.
This was followed as usual by some gentle exercises led by Tija connecting to the main theme of today. Tija went onto to show the members that not only what they eat but also how they feel effects their digestion and health of their vital organs assisting their digestion.
She did some asanas to improve digestion and lower the stress level (which are yoga exercises/poses to improve the bowel movement and lower the stress level). Studies of Eastern medicine show that emotions, such as sadness, anger and worries have a significant effect on the gallbladder, liver, spleen and stomach function, which are the main organs when it comes to digestion. If and when it gets disturbed all the waste products, toxins that should be eliminated daily stay in the body, which can potentially lead to series of diseases (colon and breast cancer, gallbladder stones, hypertension, high ldl cholesterol etc).
Carers are going through a lot of stress and are therefore are in danger of developing diseases mentioned above. Tija also did 3 exercises at the beginning to encourage activation of the hemispheres on both sides of the brain, which is recommended daily for both the carers and the sufferers. She showed the members 3 acupressure points that might help with upset stomach.
At the end of the exercises we played a game. Tija brought dried mint from her garden, dried camomile and cardamom pods. She went around and sprinkled some of it on their hands or just to smell the bag. Then they had to guess the herb's name. Everyone wanted to participate and were curious about the smell.