ONLINE MEDIA PARTNER for World Alzheimer's Awareness Day / Month 2013 Mumbai Events

Thursday, September 15, 2011

India will have one of the largest numbers of Elders with Alzheimer’s / Dementia - World Alzheimer’s Day 2011

New case of dementia arises every seven seconds in the world . And India will have one of the largest numbers of elders with this mind crippling illness.

According to many scientific estimates published worldwide, a new case of dementia arises every seven seconds in the world with the number of people with dementia set to double every 20 years. The global figures are estimated at 36 million people living with Alzheimer’s and related disorders as per Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) World Report 2010.  By 2040, over 82 million elderly people are expected to have AD if the current numbers hold and no preventive treatments become available.

The number of persons with dementia double every 5 years of age and so India will have one of the largest numbers of elders with this problem. As per the current estimates, India has about 3.7 million persons with dementia and this figure will double by 2030 to about 7 million persons. The cost of caring as a country has been conservatively estimated at present is Rs. 14,700 Crores. While the numbers are expected to double by 2030, cost would increase three times. The study, the first such authenticated one ever undertaken in a developing country, was done by Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), a non-profit organization established in 1992, which has published a country status report on Dementia (The Dementia India Report).

These alarming figures are a call to action. Government must start to plan policy and allocate health and welfare resources for the future. There has to be fundamental awareness among policy makers, clinicians and the public and more community based services, welfare and support at an accelerated pace. Many developed countries like USA, UK, France, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have National Dementia Strategies and Dementia Programmes for their countries.  In Asia, some of the countries that are developing a National Dementia Programme are Japan, Singapore and Korea.

Since its inception, ARDSI is been working with the aim of raising awareness, developing care and services, offer trainings, promote research and to work on advocacy for national policies and programmes in need of patients with dementia and families across India. Presently ARDSI has 14 chapters in India, apart from running directly day care centres, domiciliary care services, respite care centres, memory clinics and training for doctors, nurses and care givers. ARDSI is the first Afro-Asian organization to receive full membership with Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) a worldwide federation of 76 national Alzheimer associations across the globe, which has an official relationship with the W.H.O.

Dementia is one of the major causes of disability in late life.  A syndrome usually chronic, characterized by a progressive, collective deterioration of intellect including memory, learning, orientation, language, comprehension and judgment due to disease of the brain, it mainly affects older people; about 2% of cases start before the age of 65 years.  After this, the prevalence doubles with the increase of every five year. Once considered a rare disorder, Alzheimer’s Disease-AD, is now seen emerging as a major public health and social problem that is seriously affecting millions of older people and their families. 

Early identification is important for bringing management in daily life, which would help both the person and the carer for a secured and dignified living. Further, early diagnosis would also increase timely medical and / or surgical intervention as some less common causes of dementia like chronic infections, brain tumors, hypothyroidism, subdural hemorrhage, normal pressure hydrocephalus, metabolic conditions and toxins or deficiencies of vitamin B`12 and folic acid are may be treated partially. 

The Dementia India Report 2010 was an effort to document comprehensive holistic care and support to the affected people and their families, a nation-wide assessment of prevalence, gaps in service facilities available and cost of care services, analysed through series of workshops all over India in the presence of experts in the medical stream of neurology, psychiatry, psychology, NGOs, architects, insurance people, lawyers etc,.

The following details give the highlights of the status of Dementia in India:
·         The impact of dementia on the individual, the family and society will increase exponentially in terms of the burden, disablement and cost of care. There will be an increase in demand for support services.
·         Person with dementia do not access and use health and social care services. A small portion of persons with dementia and families access private health services due to absence of or unsatisfactory public services, which is again delivered at piece meal and inefficient fashion.
·         Dementia care is characterized by a significant lack of service delivery and evidence on outcomes with interventions.
·         More investment and careful planning will be needed to maximize the quality of life of Persons with dementia and their families, and to accomplish that in an efficient manner with the available services.
·         There are hardly any standard practice guidelines and treatment centres in India.

The recommendations that follow therefore contain both a series of proposals for policy development and proposals for improving the evidence base:

1.    Make Dementia a national priority
2.    Increase funding for dementia research
3.    Increase awareness about dementia
4.    Improve dementia identification and care skills
5.    Develop community support
6.    Guarantee carer support packages
7.    Develop comprehensive dementia care models
8.    Develop new National Policies and Legislation for People with Dementia.

World Alzheimer’s Day

World Alzheimer’s Day (WAD) was launched 17 years ago on 21st September 1994, to unite people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia's around the world. The day gives people with dementia, carers and medical professionals worldwide the chance to share their stories and take part in a variety of activities in order to raise awareness among the public and key decision makers.

World Alzheimer’s Day also provides Alzheimer’s associations with an opportunity to share their work and connect with more people in need of their services. 

You can support and participate in WAD 2011 events hosted by various ARDSI chapters & networking NGO's all over India , you can contact us for more details.

For more details and reference:

Alzheimer’s and Related disorders Society of India (ARDSI)
National Administrative Office
P. B. No. 53, Guruvayoor Road,
Kunnamkulam – 680 503 Kerala INDIA.
Tel: 04885 223801 / Fax: 04885 224817
Tel. 098461 98473 (Helpline)


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