THE DEMENTIA INDIA REPORT 2010 : First in Developing country
• In 2010, there are 3.7 million Indians with dementia and the total societal costs is about 14,700 crore
• While the numbers are expected to double by 2030, costs would increase three times
• Families are the main carers and they need support
Meeting the challenge of dementia in India
It is estimated that over 3.7 million people are affected by dementia in our country. This is expected to double by 2030. It is estimated that the cost of taking care of a person with dementia is about 43,000 annually; much of which is met by the families. The financial burden will only increase in the coming years. The challenge posed by dementia as a health and social issue is of a scale we can no longer ignore. Despite the magnitude, there is gross ignorance, neglect and scarce services for people with dementia and their families. We know that dementia is not part of aging and is caused by a variety of diseases. We now have a range of options to treat the symptoms of dementia and offer practical help to those affected.
Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) the national voluntary organization dedicated to the care, support and research of dementia has been in the forefront to improve the situation since 1992. ARDSI is committed to developing a society which is dementia friendly and literate. This could only happen if we have the political commitment at all levels to provide a range of solutions that deliver a life with dignity and honour for people with dementia.
The ‘Dementia India Report’ is an ambitious visionary document calling for government and policy makers to recognize dementia as a health and social welfare priority by developing a National Dementia Strategy. The report has been put together after a series of consultations across the country from January 2009 to March 2010. The editors have used these consultations and the data available from the findings of the 10/66 Dementia Research Group worldwide, the ADI’s World Alzheimer Report 2009 and from other research in India.
This is a significant step forward in dementia care movement in our country. Many countries like Australia, England, France, Norway, Netherlands, and South Korea have already recognised the problem and have devised national dementia strategies and have made dementia a national health priority. It is coincidental the Ministry of Health is about to launch the National Health care programme for the elderly. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has undertaken the revision of the national policy for older persons. This could be used as an advantage for promoting better dementia care in the country. It is our fervent hope that this report will prompt the government for setting up memory clinics and other care services at the district levels and a National Alzheimer’s Centre at the capital. We sincerely hope that the government will consider the recommendations seriously and include dementia care in the primary healthcare system.