The residential centre aims to provide affordable care and support to patients affected with dementia and other chronic neuro-psychiatric illnesses whose costs are exorbitantly expensive.

Nimhans hospitalREPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE
news Mental health Friday, February 05, 2021 - 16:18

Finally, India’s first government-run dementia care centre will soon come up at Sakalavara Community Mental Health Centre campus at National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru. “It will take at least eighteen months for the completion of construction of the centre”, said Dr P T Sivakumar, Professor of Psychiatry and Consultant, Geriatric Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS to TNM.

The residential centre aims to provide affordable care and support to patients affected with dementia and other chronic neuro-psychiatric illnesses whose costs are exorbitantly expensive.However, two-third of the facility would be run on a cost-basis which will subsequently maintain the operational expenditures, he added.

Dementia refers to a group of diseases associated with the gradual decline of memory, judgement or language due to damages of neurons in the brain. It usually affects people aged above 60 years, and Alzheimer’s disease is the most common among them.

An estimated 53 lakh elderly in the country, including 3.5 lakh in Karnataka, reportedly have dementia. The geriatric psychiatric unit in NIMHANS alone has treated around 3,500 new outpatients and has seen 275 admissions every year since July 2017, reported Deccan Herald.

Along with the pressing need for more dementia care centres, there is also a need for trained professional caregivers.“There is a huge shortage of trained caregivers for dementia. Hence, we have come up with a national initiative to train people in geriatric mental health and dementia care. The National Stock Exchange Foundation has supported us with the training initiative, which will be launched this month,” said Dr Sivakumar.

When asked about the sources of funding he replied, “We have got a Corporate Social Responsibility funding of Rs 10 crores from Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) for construction. Also, we have instituted a fund called Sakalavara fund and our former psychiatry professor and HOD at NIMHANS, Prof C R Chandrashekhar has donated Rs 1 crore.”

"There is a growing need now for more dementia care centres and the government has to come up with a policy for the long-term care system for dementia”, he added.

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