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Dementia affects about 4.1 million people in India. Of these, an estimated 70% are women and 30% are men. The larger proportion of older women than men with dementia may be because of the fact that women live longer than men in India.

The number of people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia across the globe is currently 47 million, and is steadily increasing, expected to double by 2030, and triple by 2050.

A majority of the old age homes and care facilities for people with dementia (PwD) are concentrated in the developed states of the south and western parts of India.

As per June 2017 ARDSI data, there are 14 day care/“active aging” centers and 22 full-time care centers that accept people with dementia, and they vary in capacity and charges, ranging from free to costing one lakh rupees per month.

In India, older people generally live with their families in large households, and caregivers are usually family members. However, often, family members become frustrated, expecting to see their parent or grandparent behave and talk normally.

Family and relatives may see symptoms such as memory loss simply as signs of old age. Dementia is often stigmatized, and in many cases, overlooked. As a result, only 10% of people with dementia are diagnosed.

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, usually begins in patients in their 50s, but in early-onset, can start at 40. It affects approximately 3.7 million people in India, though it is quickly becoming more and more common.

In Southern India, incidence rates of Alzheimer’s appear to be much higher than that from rural North India, though still lower than that of Europe and the rest of the western world.

First Published | 19 July 2017 7:37 PM
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Web Title: 40 lakh and counting: India’s growing dementia concern

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