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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Indian cultural traditions and Alzheimer's Disease.

"In India and South Asian nations, cultural traditions took the onset of senility as a natural process of aging. Since life expectancy was rather short in these nations until a few decades ago, the Alzheimer's disease was assumed to be an occurrence or the phenomenon of the Western materialistic nations. There is a greater recurrence of this disease now noticed in India, especially among the people of middle classes.

Sadly, the belief that the Alzheimer's disease is a Western phenomenon is not really true. Indian family traditions make us suffer from within, mourn our fate, and feel sorry for our dear old person who is now a stranger in his own family. We do not publicize our "fate," and we are trained to put up with what we are faced with. Our public caregiving or medical systems are not prepared to handle such cases. I know of several cases of suspected Alzheimer's disease in India and my heart breaks when I think of such cases.

In the country where I am now settled, I have come across several Alzheimer's patients. These men and women were good friends of mine a few years ago, but with the onset of the disease I became a stranger to them. I could watch these developments and recognized certain linguistic characteristics of these persons".

M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Bethany College of Missions
6820 Auto Club Road #320
Bloomington, MN

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