BENGALURU: Cases of dementia and Alzheimer's among the elderly have almost doubled over the past decade, with an increase in the grey population, and cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
Around 3.7 per cent of senior citizens suffer from this, including 46,000 of them in Bengaluru alone, and 6.1 million in India. This is expected to triple by 2050 since people above 60 years of age are expected to constitute 19.1 per cent of the total population, as per Dementia India report.
While the problems they face have multiplied, caring for them has become challenging too -- dementia affects memory and other cognitive functions, and as it progresses, wandering becomes a major problem. Given the current road conditions and traffic in Bengaluru, they tend to get lost and exhausted, and at times become victims of accidents too.
Missing cases of 15 senior citizens in April 2021-22 March, three in 2020-21 and 10 in 2019-20 were reported in Bengaluru, according S Premkumar Raja, co founder and honorary secretary Nightingales Medical Trust, a leading NGO working for elderly and those with dementia, which is also managing elders' helpline (14567) of ministry of social justice and empowerment.
He said that behavioural problems among persons with dementia, such as anxiety, depression, aggression, hallucination and chronic dependency make caring at home difficult.
A nuclear family structure with current work culture, and dearth of community-based support system has made it even more challenging, leading to an increase in poor nutrition, stress, behavioural and psychological issues among patients, Prem Kumar noted.
People with dementia were worst affected by the Covid pandemic, Prem Kumar noted. It made access to medical care, dementia management and support extremely challenging.
There is an increase in demand for residential care, which is provided by a few organisations
Nimhans runs exclusive dementia OPD
Nightingales Medical Trust runs three residential care facilities -- Centre for Ageing and Alzheimers, care facility in Kolar, Tania Mathias centre exclusively for women in Kothanur
Kites, Cadabams and Spandana
Memory clinics are run by Manipal and Baptist hospitals
Nikisa Dementia Village, a full-time care facility