It is thought that India has one of the largest populations of older people with dementia in the world. The number of people over the age of 60 in India is 143 million - 10.3% of the total population - and will increase to 300 million (20% of the total population) in 2050. The number of people with dementia in India is currently estimated to be around 5.3 million and will increase to more than 10 million in 2040.
Despite the high numbers of people living with dementia, there is little awareness and understanding of the condition, coupled with low diagnosis, treatment, and formal care . For most people with dementia, they are cared for by their families in their homes. Most of the primary care partners for people with dementia are women, and either of working age or elderly spouses. Their experience identified elevated levels of burnout, social isolation, and psychological problems including depression and anxiety.
The Schizophrenia Research Foundation (SCARF) have been working to open a dedicated dementia care facility to bridge the gap. SCARF is a non-governmental, not for profit organization based in Chennai, India. Their multidisciplinary team includes experienced psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses trained in geriatric mental health. After several years working on the project, SCARF is delighted to announce that this new inpatient facility, Sri T S Santhanam Centre for Elderly Care for dementia care, in Chennai, is now open.
SCARF believe this to be the first such facility to use ‘dementia-friendly’ design in India. The new Centre will bridge an important gap in the service provision for people with dementia in Chennai and has two floors with ten beds (two single rooms and two eight-bed wards on each.) The Centre offers:
- Assessment, diagnosis, and treatment for dementia
- Personalised care planning
- Education and support for family members
- Structured cognitive engagement and other psychological interventions to improve cognition and manage behavioural changes
- Round the clock nursing care
- An activity hall - a space designed for cognitive and social engagement
- A healthy, nutritious, and well-balanced diet advice
- A terrace garden for physical activity
SCARF commented “We are grateful to the Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling, UK, for providing invaluable advice to enable us to make our Centre dementia friendly. We also thank the Dementia Services Development Trust for sponsoring our staff to visit Scotland to learn first-hand about the dementia services in the NHS. We could not have developed our services without all this support. We look forward to continue our collaboration in the future.”
The DSDC wishes the team at SCARF all the best and are delighted that the residents of Chennai are now able to access this crucial service.
 Nulkar A, Paralikar V, Juvekar S. Dementia in India – a call for action. Journal of Global Health Reports. 2019 https://www.joghr.org/article/12221-dementia-in-india-a-call-for-action