Forum Purple Run: Hues of purple

A run to be held this weekend intends to raise awareness on mental health

Around 2,000 men and women in different age groups will be participating in Forum Purple Run that’s set to start from Forum Mall in Kukatpally on September 15. In fact, eight malls across six cities will see the run being flagged off simultaneously to spread awareness on Alzheimer’s.

With World Alzheimer’s Day being observed on September 21, this year’s theme focusses on stigma and fears around dementia. “We want to make sure that more people in Hyderabad become aware of this condition that might occur in senior citizens,” shares Bala Tripura Sundhari, co-founder of Alzheimer’s & Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), Hyderabad-Deccan chapter.

Purple Run has seen the numbers grow over a period of two years. “We expect more participants will lead from the front and spread awareness,” she says, adding that a better understanding will help people take their elderly family members to neurologists and get the assessment done.

Families with elderly having dementia find themselves alone in this journey. Sharing their own personal stories and seeking support makes a difference but it is often kept under wraps.

“A lot of times we see families hesitate to seek help even after the diagnosis. The caretaker is burnt out and it becomes difficult to manage the person at home,” says Bala stressing on the difference it can make if a person seeks help and support in the initial stage.

ARDSI also plans to visit gated communities and schools and colleges to talk to youngsters. “Grandchildren share a special bond with their grandparents. We want to talk to the youth and make them aware of the condition.”

It is especially stressful for working couples and professionals when they realise that an elder member in their family has been diagnosed with the condition. “It helps when people of all ages come together in the family to partake in the dementia care management.”

While Purple Run is an annual event that fitness enthusiasts look forward to, those-still-not-on-exercise-routine can make a new beginning. “At least walk, if you cannot run,” she says with a smile.

Besides bringing awareness on dementia, Purple Run highlights the need to balance physical and mental health. “By being fit, one can avoid lifestyle diseases which can push up the numbers of vascular dementia which is predominant in Asian countries. Lifestyle is very important and if you are aware of it, you can take care of your health when you grow old.”

(Forum Purple Run will be flagged off from Forum Mall, Kukatpally on September 15 at 5 am for the 5 kilometre and 10 kilometre categories.)

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