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Friday, May 20, 2011

Patients with Alzheimer in India, (extract of article)

The Elderly Are Left Out in The New India

By Sandip Roy, New America Media, January 4, 2010, India.

Copyright © Global Action on Aging

"....But as life spans have increased there are more detected cases of Alzheimer’s and related dementia. “We didn’t have words for it,” says Cherian. “In the villages of Haryana people would say they had turned into vegetables. They would lie on their charpoy [rope beds] and just wither away.”

Most old age homes in India do not accept patients with dementia. Hospitals don’t know how to care for them. “It’s a hidden problem,” says Prem Kumar Raja, secretary of Nightingales Medical Trust, which provides medical services for seniors in Bangalore. “People don’t like to talk about it.” Nightingales has a dementia day care center and hopes to open a comprehensive dementia care center in 2010. It will be the first in the country. Raja estimates there are 3 million people with dementia in India right now--30,000 in Bangalore alone"....

"But Dr. Dey at AIIMS says the Hindu concept of rebirth can also be an obstacle. He says religions like Christianity and Judaism give importance to every part of life including old age. “Here you can offer the best care to a sick old person, and he will say, 'why prolong this life? Didn’t the Bhagavad Gita say that it’s a rotten body and the soul needs a new home?'”

"The problem for India is not that there are 80 million older people. The real issue is a lack of infrastructure and financial security for a huge number of elders. There are 22 million widows in India, a number larger than the population of New York. “The problem is not about widowhood,” says Ruprekha Chowdhury who is doing her dissertation on old age homes in Bengal. “The problem is they have no savings.”

"Even middle-class elders often do not have money saved up for old age. Pensions are few. Health insurance is not common. Migration, whether to the west or to big cities, and smaller families mean there are fewer children around. Cities aren’t age-friendly. There might be wheelchair ramps but no rails to hold on to. “Aging came to India before development,” says Indira Jai Prakash, a gerontologist in Bangalore. “In Western countries, they developed first and then longevity came.”"


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