Updated: September 23, 2021 7:43:52 am
The Bengaluru chapter of the Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSi) has launched an expert-led online screening platform for dementia, ‘Demclinic’, to mark World Alzheimer’s Day which is observed annually on September 21.
The virtual cognitive assessment platform, reportedly one of the first in the country, has been launched in conjunction with the NGO Nightingales which is involved in the care of elders.
The web portal will allow people to get assessments on dementia from experts from the confines of their homes. The initiative is part of efforts to provide accessible and affordable diagnostic services under the Mental Health Act 2017.
Professor of Psychiatry and Director at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Dr. Pratima Murthy, who was at the launch on Tuesday said that more than five million people in India live with dementia.
“It is terrible to see highly placed professionals like teachers, bureaucrats or a practicing doctor gradually lose their faculties, especially in the area of memory. It’s very distressing,” Dr. Pratima Murthy said.
“For people in the early stages of the disease, it is frustrating to know that they cannot remember and identify certain things. As the disease progresses perhaps they forget that they have forgotten. Lifespan has now gone up to the late 60’s and we see a greater number of people with dementia,” she said.
“Covid has increased a lot of isolation among the elderly and many have lost their family members causing a sense of loneliness. Despite all the stress of COVID studies have shown that the elderly population is more resilient in terms of their emotional responsiveness than younger people,” Dr. Murthy said.
“Dementia is a neurodegenerative disorder with a devastating impact on the person affected and the caregivers. There is no specific treatment for it. It contributes significantly to morbidity, disability, and mortality among those who are affected,” said Dr. Radha Murthy, president of the Bengaluru unit of the Alzheimers and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSi).
“The current services available for dementia are inadequate. Around 90% of people with dementia remain undiagnosed. A dearth of memory clinics and mental health professionals make the scope of early diagnosis and intervention minuscule, ” she said.
“Covid-19 has made dementia diagnosis and support crises even bigger,” according to S Premkumar Raja, Co-founder and Secretary- Nightingales Medical Trust.
As per the Dementia India report 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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