Updated: September 24, 2021 7:58:42 am
The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru has been tasked with making South Bengaluru a dementia-friendly location under a central government-funded project.
The project called Advancing Approaches to Dementia Associated Research (AADAR), a research initiative recently launched by the Department of Biotechnology and the Ministry of Science and Technology, will investigate the prevalence, incidence, and risk of dementia and create awareness on the condition in south Bengaluru.
“It is a first-of-its-kind initiative under a central government programme. It is led by a multidisciplinary team of trained psychologists, social workers, doctors and public health specialists after a pilot study. The study started in January this year,” NIMHANS director Dr. Pratima Murthy said.
Since January, more than 1,000 individuals above 60 years of age have been evaluated through a door-to-door survey of households in and around Jayanagar in south Bengaluru.
The survey assesses basic health conditions, cognitive and functional status of seniors. “One of the strengths of the neuroscience institute is to work with voluntary organizations,” Dr. Murthy said.
NIMHANS is also working on a project titled Strengthening Responses to Dementia in Developing Countries (STRIDE) with the London School of Economics.
“We support the mission of the United Nations for healthy aging. The most important thing is to have a multidisciplinary approach. Research-based interventions will help us make a change and evolve processes. We are coming up with a 40 bedded centre for dementia with CSR support,’ she said.
NIMHANS recently held a national level skill training program for mental health for caregivers of older persons. “Covid has increased a lot of isolation among the elderly and many have lost their family members causing a sense of loneliness, Dr. Murthy said.
As per the Dementia India report for 2020, 5.3 million people above the age of 60 have dementia. The numbers are expected to double in 20 years. In Bengaluru, it is estimated that over 46,000 elders are suffering from dementia.
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