Ever wondered where you had seen that face which seems so familiar or for that matter ever stood in front of the cupboard wondering why you had opened it. While in common parlance these symptoms may just account for normal forgetfulness,post 60s it could well be one of the symptoms of dementia. And here’s where the International Longevity Centre,India (ILC-I) wants to play the role of searching for behavioural and social symptoms that can be termed as indicators for dementia leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
Says Ravindra Surve,executive director of ILC- I,”The research study is an initiative taken by the centre on the occasion of World Alzheimer’s day that was observed on September 21. Our research study aims at identifying behavioural markers of dementia and we are now in the process of developing a questionnaire to identify the potential patients.”
Surve said that plans are underway to contact senior citizens clubs and old age homes to send in volunteers to answer this test. ILC will use the social work techniques of case work,counselling,group work,therapy and focussed group discussions to manage the patient in the family or institutional settings in order to lead to a method of coping with the strange behaviour of the patients. “Our aim is to to help,if possible,revert the dementia and rehabilitate the patient to absorb him or her in the family and social mainstream.”
Surve said that this mini mental state evaluation (MMSE) will also been be given to 200 cases of identified Alzheimer’s patients from hospitals,clinics and old age homes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia among older people. Dementia is a brain disorder that seriously affects a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. “It begins slowly,” explains Surve. It first involves the parts of the brain that control thought,memory and language.
People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble remembering things that happened recently or names of people they know. Over time,symptoms get worse. People may not recognise family members or have trouble speaking,reading or writing. They may forget how to brush their teeth or comb their hair. Later on,they may become anxious or aggressive,or wander away from home. Eventually,they need total care. The disease usually begins after age 60. The risk goes up as one ages and it is even higher if the family member has had the disease. According to the UN statistics,there were 690 million people above the age of 60 in the year 2006 and is likely to be three times as large by 2050.