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Thursday, March 1, 2007

My experience in India - Ms Hendi LINGIAH

Article published in The Hindu in 2008 :

"My experience in India, approaching Ageing and Senior Care in India".

Ms Hendi LINGIAH, Clinical Psychologist,

Dear Friends,

This is following the welcoming messages and positive reactions to my postings I received after joining the forum. It is my pleasure to share information with you on any subjects related to the development sector in India, public health policy issues, and more specifically senior citizens welfare and the topic of Alzheimer's Disease. I regularly send my views on this website and take time to read your valuable contributions, paying attention to each of your responses.

French clinical psychologist based in France, I am from Indo-Mauritian origins. Born and brought up in France, I graduated in French Universities and started working in mental health institutions and social services. I came to India first in 2005 as a tourist and met the fascinating country of my forefathers.

But my interest for Alzheimer's Disease started in 2006 when I came back to India this time to work. The NGO I joined was well established in the field of senior citizen's welfare, very well-known at that time for opening a retirement township for retired people whishing to live an autonomous and still active retreat. This township included a small structure devoted to elderlys affected at the early stage and further of Alzheimer's Disease. It was a nice residential set-up of eight comfortable rooms with bathroom and one common activity room; it was located in a countryside part of India. That premise needed to be developed and enhanced, routine, assessments and residents health care, even material aspects had to be looked after.

All that year, was a challenge for me as I wasn’t familiar with the disease. We started working with doctors and psychiatrists and I have done in cooperation with them the follow-ups of patients, the interviews with families, the local staff supervisions… I also coordinated medical visits and interventions and even do night duty. In my task I was helped by the team onsite, it was tough time sometimes as I had to learn everything at the same time: disease signs, local languages and English, get used to the conditions of living, as it was an isolated site and the difference of culture with France. It was an interesting professional experience in a foreign country broadening my mind and my interest to the field of ageing and Alzheimer's Disease.

Today back in France, I decided to continue in that field and share my experience with you. It was my pleasure to contribute to the welfare of senior citizens in India. I know there are not enough specialists entirely devoted to this field or their action is limited due to lack of fund and good will. But these days in India, Ageing and Senior Care have started to become an issue and the government has started to react by integrating it in the public health policy. Let’s hope Indian Health Ministry will maintain a constant pace, be vigilant to any abuse, set-up official guidelines and implement strict standards.

Anyway Caring always raises ethical issues and in emerging countries where awareness has to be developed and where the Economy is fast growing, we must make sure the public health policy keep focus on Care and Welfare more than on Earning.

It is our duty to work together in this aim; a satisfactory society for its citizens is a society responding to their needs.

Clinical Psychologist,


sanu said...

The story seems very interesting...and the willingness to contribute to dementia care is realy appreciative

sanu said...

In india, the National Alzheimer's Association is Alzheimers and Related Disorders Society of India(ARDSI). The web address .
They are working for the welfare of patients and their family from the last fourteen years.
They are running day care centers,Respite care centers,memory clinincs,home care services,awareness creation,training,research etc.
They are having fourteen chapters in different states of India...
email id

Ms Hendi Lingiah, clinical psychologist, France said...

Dear Hendi,

We were extremely pleased to read your message in the
Karmayog as well as on your determination to work in the
area of Azeimer Disease amongst senior citizens.

We feel that your decision to work for relief of one of the
most debilating diseases that causes severe psychological
and social disintegration amongst humans is praiseworthy.
Yet the society has hardly understood its long and short
time implications. Even the nearest relations have shown
less regard due their ignorance for the one otherwise
dear to them. Resulting misunderstanding increases psycholigical depression in the patient inflicted
with Alzheimer Disease.

You have rightly pointed out to the inadequacy in rendering
public and governmental support to the victim in India. One
can say this for practically all disceases but there are some
areas where societal lack of care works the hardest on the

We have a small group Prakruti where we try to work in some
of the most neglected areas and sections of the society.
We are inclined to natural living and naturopathy than modern
health care sciences. We would be happy to learn from your experiences and try to take up work in the area.

Our colleague, Mr Harshad Kamdar (pet name Kanubhai)
is more concerned on these isues of public heath where
mis and known understandings prevail. He should be
more closely interested in your work.

We are happy to learn that your roots are in India and
Mauritius. We would be interested in knowing more about
you and attachments. We look forward to receiving
and meeting you in Mumbai if you happen to come to

By the way Kisan had a rare opportunity of knowing
a Swiss lady from the WHO who tried to create awareness
on the disease about 15 years ago. He tried to help her
in developing local contacts at societal level for over three
years. Best wishes.

Kisan Mehta

Ms Hendi Lingiah, clinical psychologist, France said...

Thanks for your comments,
later on i'll talk about my friend the president of ARDSI based in Kerala and our similar endeavour in India.


Ms Hendi Lingiah, clinical psychologist, France said...

Alzheimer's & Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI)

Alzheimer's Disease is the most common type of dementia. See for details.
Alzheimer's & Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) - Mumbai Chapter has recently got a place in J J Hospital Premises. So if any family member or friend suffers from Alzheimer's, do ask them to visit ARDSI at J J Hospital Municipal School Building, Room no. 27, 2nd floor, on any Wednesday between 12 and 2 p.m.
Dr. Shirin Barodawala, neuro-pathologist, 23513253, will be available.
ARDSI has 70 life-members. The one-time fee is Rs. 1000 only so do consider joining.
ARDSI is starting homes so if you can offer such a space, it would be appreciated.
ARDSI start activities in the areas of Day care centre, Domiciliary care services, Guidance and Counseling, Memory clinic, Caregivers meeting, Dementia care fund, Awareness programmes, Geriatric nursing training.

If you are able to volunteer or get involved in any way, do contact
Mr. C.G. Thomas, President, ARDSI Mumbai Chapter,
Residence: A-1, Anand Niketan,
Plot No. 46, Sector 9-A, Vashi, Navi Mumbai - 400 703
Tel. 022 - 27667768 / 27668324
Other committee members who you could also contact are:
Mrs. Lena Tawares, Founder, Bandra. Tel: 26428421
Mr. Jacob Kurian, Treasurer, Thane W. Tel 25893048

Ms Hendi Lingiah, clinical psychologist, France said...

Re: My experience in India, Approaching Ageing and Senior Care in

Posted by: Louisie
Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:58 pm (PST)

-Your posting of your experiences in India is very interesting.
However, I do believe that you will find other countries are quite
slow in reaching the levels of care we have here in the USA for
seniors. And still, it is not enough. I am actually surprised that
in India they would have attempted to create what we here in the USA
call an "adult foster care home". It was my understanding that the
families are usually taking responsibility for their aged
population. I think though that in India, they do not accept
individuals with mental disorder, rather they work at hiding them
away in isolation. I would love to hear more about your experiences
in both India and France and would be willing to share my own
professional experiences with you here in the States.
Thanks for your posting,

Ms Hendi Lingiah, clinical psychologist, France said...

Re: My experience in India, Approaching Ageing and Senior Care in

Posted by: "Jacqueline Dunn-Bell" jackiedunnbell
Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:48 pm (PST)

> Hello, My name is Jackie and I am a Clinical Social Worker and work as an indeoendent contractor
providing clinical social wotk services to home bound seniors and
persons with disabilities.
Just wanted to make a short response to Louise's comments about the
idea of foster care homes in India. Several years ago when I worked
in community mental health,most of our psychiatrist were from India
and there was a group of them that were very interested in mental
health treatment here in the states, particularly the community
mental health clinics and foster care homes, as an apporach that
could be used in their country. I belive they were oart of a group
that were trying to make a change in their country's approach to
mental health treatment issues becuase of the increasing magnitude of the problem.

Jackie Dunn-Bell
Clinical Social Worker
jdunnbell@sbcglobal .net

Ms Hendi Lingiah, clinical psychologist, France said...

Dear Hendi,

Its great to see your view regarding your rich experience with elders in your blog.
In India there are very few organisation working for Alzheimer and Dementia.
We need professionals to work in this area.
It would be nice if you can contribute with your knowledge in domain of Dementia and work in India.
We need to creat awerness regarding this slow growing disorder.

Keep on posting your articles on different senior citizens forum and also documentation of your experience in India.

Warm Regards,
Sailesh Mishra

Dhananjay said...

i have worked with you and seen the kind attitude of yours toward the elderly people.
i was very much surprised and pleased to see that a young girl from france who just learned to speak english takinng care of elderly.
The attitude she had is what expected from a psychologist.I hope she comes back and train oter people in this field.

see you soon.

dr dhananjay