With 4 million people in India living with some form of dementia according to ALZ, one city is looking to improve their quality of life. Kochi is aiming to become India’s first dementia-friendly city with project Udbodh. Launched by Cochin University of Science & Technology (CUSAT), the programme aims to fight the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s disease and improve the quality of life of those fighting the condition.
The project aims to initiate early detection for people with dementia, memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, establish a social life for those suffering and raise awareness among communities and families regarding the conditions.
Baby Chakrapani PS, assistant professor at CUSAT, told TNIE,
“In the first stage, awareness will be created. For this, we have sought the help of Asha workers and residents’ associations. Once the door-to-door awareness campaign concludes, the next stage will be an orientation programme for doctors, apart from neurologists who are presently aware of the situation, and even nurses on how to identify the signs that signal the condition.”
The project would further set up memory clinics in hospitals with the help of the public and hold international conferences on Alzheimer’s.
More such initiatives
Earlier this month, Kochi also organised its first-ever ‘memory cafe’ that was attended by 40 people. The event was organised to provide emotional support to people living with dementia, memory loss and Alzheimer’s as well as their caregivers.
Researchers at IIIT Hyderabad created an ‘Indian Brain Atlas’ to replace the standard in neuroscience studies and cater to Indian ethnicities. According to the researchers, this will be beneficial to track the brain as the patient starts to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Dementia in India
According to the 2011 census, India has around 104 million citizens aged 60 or above, out of which over 4 million are in Kerala itself. While the country’s ‘Old Dependency Ratio’ is 142/1000, the figure is significantly higher in Kerala due to higher life expectancy.
With over 4 million people estimated to be living with dementia, India has the highest caseload in the world. One organisation estimated that this figure is likely to reach as high as 7.5 million by 2030.