Dementia patients to increase in India by 2050, says report
If you are forgetting messages, routes or names, asking questions repetitively or have increasing difficulties with activities that require organisation and planning, you could be suffering from dementia, the cause of which could be Alzheimer’s disease.
According to a 2010 report, up to 14 million people in India, between the age of 75 to 90 and above, will suffer from dementia by 2050.
The report is published by Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India, New Delhi, and will be discussed on the occasion of World Mental Health Day on October 10.
Dementia results in the slow decline of mental capabilities due to gradual death of brains cells. Its impact depends on what the person was like before the disease - his/her personality, lifestyle, significant relationships and physical health.
Findings of the Report
An estimated 3.7 million Indians, aged over 60 years, have dementia. The prevalence of dementia increases steadily with age and higher prevalence is seen among older women than men. This can be explained by the fact thatwomen live longer in India.
In general, studies of age-specific incidence of dementia among older people show no significant difference for women and men. It may therefore, appear that gender is not a risk factor for Alzheimer’s or other dementias among older people.
Dementia in age groups of 60-75 years is expected to increase steadily over time.
On the other hand, the steep increment in the 75 age group can be predictable after 2030, the report stated. Of India’s population of 123 crore, about 10 crore are senior citizens. In Bangalore, there are about 7.5 lakh elderly people. They need healthcare, social support and finances.
As Dr Radha Murthy said recently at a conference for the elderly, “We have to find ways to address their health and emotional needs.”
A Pressing State of Affairs
The increased numbers of people with dementia will have a marked impact on states’ infrastructure and healthcare systems, which are ill-equipped in many regions and also demand a lot out of families and caregivers, says the report.
“Increasing costs of health care, particularly large Out-Of-Pocket (OOP) expense for procuring services coupled with rapid increase in the number of people suffering from dementia indeed result in greater costs of dementia both to the family and society,” the report said.