Dementia Friendly Kerala — the Way Forward
Dementia is a major cause of disability and dependency in old age. Compared to other Indian states, Kerala has one of the highest proportions of elderly in the country. However, there is poor awareness about dementia among all sections of our society. There should be a concerted effort to educate the public and to develop services that improve quality of life of dementia patients. Professionals have to be trained and made confident in understanding and skilled in addressing the problems associated with dementia. There is a need to develop specialized dementia care services that can be implemented using the existing infrastructure. The Kerala model of health care, a remarkable achievement at par with those of many developed countries, is ideal for developing a dementia care initiative that can serve as a model for other Indian states. Health, social welfare, and social justice sectors should jointly design a service stream for dementia sufferers. Voluntary agencies can play a close collaborative role in this model of care, and organizations like Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) are well positioned to do it, considering their experience and knowledge.
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