A State-run rehab in Kerala is a trove of fond memories for dementia patients

The home which can accommodate 25 patients has rehabilitated around 60 persons and currently takes care of 19 inmates.

Memory loss issues generally worry us only when there is a dementia patient at home. It is a challenge to deal with loved ones with dementia as they require double the amount of care given to other patients. Due to poor understanding of the ailment, the patients are often put behind locked doors. To ensure affordable dementia care, the state opened its lone full-time treatment and rehabilitation centre for patients at Edavanakkad in Ernakulam district six years ago with just one inmate. Set up under the Social Welfare Department in association with Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI), the centre serves as a shelter home for homeless dementia patients.

It is also claimed to be the country's lone full-time dementia care centre in the government sector. The home which can accommodate 25 patients has rehabilitated around 60 persons and currently takes care of 19 inmates.

Statistics show the daily number of dementia patients worldwide has been soaring at an alarming pace to the extent that in every three seconds one person is getting affected by the disorder. Currently, there are over 55 million cases the world over, waiting to get doubled by the year 2030.

In India, reports indicate that there are 51 lakh people with dementia, of which over 2 lakh are Keralites. However, only 10 per cent of them get diagnosed and take proper medical care, which indeed is a major cause of concern in the years to come. Sixty per cent of the world's dementia population is found in developing countries. With 51 lakh cases, India has the dubious distinction of being ranked 3, only next to China and United States of America. The shocking rise in daily tally of cases in Kerala indicates the urgent need to set up dementia care centres across all districts.

Personalised nursing is a must in most of the cases. The Edavanakkad rehabilitation centre has a strong 15-member team comprising a specially-trained doctor, social worker, nurse and caregivers to address the physical and mental changes happening at different stages of the individual. People from other districts utilise the residential facility of the full-time treatment centre being run by the government. Moreover, the good number of applications the centre receives from other states is testimony to the outstanding service rendered by its staff members.

Dementia care, undoubtedly, is an expensive affair. Only specially trained caregivers can give proper care to the patient. There are instances when the family members would land in trouble while engaging an ordinary home nurse to deal with a dementia patient at home. The untrained home nurse would prove to be a non-performer when it comes to treating people with memory loss. Moreover, the fee charged by the private dementia care centres is on the pricey side compared to ordinary care homes. Such issues are blotted out by the government-run rehab centre where services offered are completely free of cost.

Dementia care is a drain on low-income households. Such families end up getting into the shoes of caregivers themselves, fearing out-of-pocket costs to manage the sick member of the house. However, treating the person without the actual knowledge of the nature of the ailment can be extremely stressful and would be a disaster by itself as the ordeal is sure to take a toll on the temperament of the caregiver as well.

Consequently, it tends to affect the harmony of the family. Under such circumstances, the full-time residential facility at the centre gives major relief to the financially weak families that struggle to take forward care of their loved ones afflicted by the disease. Documents of personalised dementia treatment are important for treating home-confined patients. The service of experienced hands at the institute is available to prepare such documents.

Any query related to the treatment of dementia and admission to the institute can be contacted at 0484-2506990.

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