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ARDSI urges Karnataka govt to make dementia a health priority

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Monday, September 26, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Alzheimer’s & Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) has urged the Karnataka government to make dementia a health priority as changes in brain are evident in the ageing population. In this regard, the Society has submitted a memorandum to the state government indicating that the disease is impacting the elderly and is an irreversible condition if interventions are not made.

The government needs to make dementia a health priority and develop a plan to deal with the disease. Only Kerala state has taken steps in this direction and has set up three elderly care centres to support this segment of the population. In this regard, we call on the government to fund and expand the implementation of the World Health Organisation, Mental Health Gap Action Plan including packages of care for dementia as one of the seven disorders identified under the plan. There is also a serious need to increase the dementia research funding, said Prof Hanumanthachar Joshi, president, ARDSI and principal, Sarada College of Pharmacy, Mysuru.

According to WHO estimates, 18-25 million peoples were affected in the year 2000 and this number doubled to 32-40 million in 2020. In India currently 60 million suffer from dementia.

“We have therefore requested the state government to develop policies and plans for long-term care that anticipate and address social ad demographic trends and have an explicit focus on supporting family caregivers and ensuring social protection of vulnerable people with dementia,” he added.

To this end, there is a need for the state government to introduce non-contributory social pension schemes. It is also equally important for the government to ensure that people with dementia are eligible to receive and disability benefits. This is because one of the key problems facing families of people with Alzheimer’s is the devastating financial consequences. Even people with mild Alzheimer’s can require home care or other support. Those with severe manifestation of Alzheimer’s will definitely need long-term care like admission into a nursing home or other institutional care, Prof. Joshi told Pharmabiz.

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. This damage to the brain begins as many as 10 to 20 years before any problems are evident. One of the great mysteries of Alzheimer’s disease is why it largely strikes older adults. Research on how the brain changes normally with age is shedding light on this question, he said.

There are several non-pharmacological methods of management of dementia apart from regular pharmacological treatments. Being pharmacy professionals, it is the responsibility of the pharmacists to make an awareness among the citizens. Many people take lots of drugs which can cause cognitive impairment on long term usage such as sedatives, anti-histamines, antipsychotic drugs, digoxin etc. This can be avoided if the pharmacists cautions about their long term usage. He also stressed on role of seasonal foods and brain exercises, noted Prof. Joshi adding that government needs to take cognisance and make dementia a health priority.


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