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"Sriti Sudhay" a bengali word meaning Memories Beckon

Striving for an environment where family caregivers are supported with story telling & sharing to experience meaning in life amidst chaos.

Photo of Nilanjana Maulik
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Who is your idea designed for and how does it better support family caregivers as they care for a loved one with dementia?

It is designed for family caregivers. They have to contend with hidden problems like cognitive deficits, unpredictable behaviour and personality changes in their loved ones and the consequences that put them at risk for harm. We believe this intervention explores their various moods and emotions and enrich their path in their long journey of caregiving. So, use of story telling through words and sometimes a song or a dance movement helps caregivers to make sense of where each one is standing.

Over the years as I designed and implemented various services for the dementia caregivers in Kolkata, India, and followed it up with evaluating their effectiveness, I realized, I was trying to connect caregivers with dots by looking forward and not necessarily looking backwards. So I came up with a project called Sriti Sudhay a bengali word meaning Memories Beckon. Here I use storytelling and sharing. I found Asking “What is your story? created a setting whereby we could celebrate what was left.
Over the years, I found this story telling &  sharing by far the most effective and humane approach to support family caregivers experience of  meaning in life amidst their chaotic world of dementia caregiving.
We all know life for family caregivers is found to be caught up in crisis every moment. And they are not themselves when they are there. They don’t know what to do. At those moments all their spiritual practices, concepts, ideas and ideals fall apart. Their devotion, their love and all the beautiful things they cherish in their life, simply don’t seem to be there or mean anything. In this scenario all they know is shock, panic, fear, anger, denial, you name any negative emotions and they are there.
What I understood interacting with caregivers in this situation over the years is, never does support that comes in form of leaflets and advice and suggestions work as effectively as allowing them to give voice to their experiences.
And, so the project Sriti Sudhay or Memories Beckon started with one to one session with caregivers followed by group sessions later.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We would like to get feedback from 50+ family caregivers of someone with dementia. We'd , collecting their feedback after every session ( 25 one to one as well as 25 group sessions ). We would use personal as well as traditional folk lores for this intervention.
And, we would then use this information to refine our strategies to better support family caregivers in future.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

We are interested in exploring partnerships with organizations who use storytelling & sharing to support family caregivers. We are also eager for support and help in implementing this intervention in a large scale across India. We also need help in identifying funders, ways of marketing it to the community, and research in identifying best practices for this kind of intervention.

How long has your idea existed?

  • Over 1 year

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

Tell us about your work experience:

I have 20+ years experience of building and managing programs and activities of a Dementia Non- Profit organization. Trained initially as a professional dementia caregiver and later explored research and delivery of programs and services in the area of dementia care.


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Photo of PUSHPANATHAN Sethurathinam


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