Day after day, the need for dementia care centres and care-giving is increasing across India. Understanding the real issue behind rising incidences of dementia is the need of the hour. And to understand that, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) has started an online initiative to train the caregivers.
“Given the rising numbers and paucity of professional facilities to manage the condition, dementia is going to be our biggest worry in coming days,” said Dr Alka Subramanium, psychiatrist from Nair Hospital.
Moreover, doctors see the NIMHANS initiative as a positive one. “It is an amazing step to be honest. It will create more awareness and it will also help in the creation of better management for care givers. I think the best part about this will be its multiplier effects. More people will use the digital medium to know more about the illness and eventually, it will create more space for caregivers,” said Dr Parul Tank, consultant psychiatrist at Asian Heart, Mumbai, Fortis Hospital and head of psychiatry department at Rajawadi Hospital.
Furthermore, activists in the field say they are in complete owe of this timely aid by the government, “NIMHANS is the nodal authority when it comes to taking such decision about mental health ailment in the country. With everything in India going digital, this effort will mean more participation of the public. I fully support this initiative. Such initiatives empower and sensitize with the family of dementia patient,” said Sailesh Mishra, founder- president of Silver Innings.
Dementia doesn’t have any cause or cure, yet educating and creating awareness about the disease will help in informing people about the disease at large. “We need to know about the disease at large. Only then people may come to doctors at the right time so that we too, can help them in times of need. This initiative will help the family in managing dementia patient,” said Shifa Mogral, clinical psychologist at Masina Hospital.
Dementia could be avoided if some of its challenges are solved in the early childhood, says a report published in a medical journal, The Lancet. In an extensive study, ‘Dementia prevention, intervention, and care’ published in The Lancet says, Dementia is not an inevitable consequence of ageing and the Commission identifies nine potentially modifiable health and lifestyle factors from different phases of life that, if eliminated, might prevent dementia.
These nine factors include obesity, smoking, hearing loss, diabetes and social isolation to name a few. This study, if rightly observed, says that the effects could well be identified in early life and hence, prevented successfully. “If all of these problems could be fixed, at least 35% of seniors who lose their independence and their pasts would instead retain their dignity and their memories until they died of something else,” it read.
Doctors say the study will be helpful. “This is a very new study and it is nice to know. Smoking has its own set of known and unknown effects. Obesity, on the other hand, is a known cause of diabetes. Diabetes can plausibly cause the death of neuronal tissues. Cognitive decline in any form will help in development of dementia,” added Dr Tank.