Says number of people with dementia above the age of 60 to touch 4.41 million by 2015

By the year 2015, India is expected to overtake the U.S. to become the country with the largest number of people with dementia, posing a major challenge to the economy, the Dementia India Report 2010 prepared by the Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI) says.

The report, to be released at a function here on Friday along with the World Alzheimer Report 2012, estimates that the number of people with dementia above the age of 60 in India will touch 4.41 million by 2015, up from the current 3.7 million. Persons with dementia in the 60-75 age group are expected to increase steadily over time, and a steep increment among patients over 75 years of age can be predicted after 2030.

The report says the increasing cost of healthcare, particularly large out-of-pocket expenses for procuring services, coupled with the increase in the number of people with dementia will place a huge burden on the individual, family, and society, creating a black hole of economic drain and demand.

The societal cost of caring for the 3.7 million patients with dementia in India has been estimated to be Rs.147 billion, with informal care accounting for Rs.88.9 billion and direct medical cost totalling Rs.46.8 billion.

Terming the estimates as alarming, the ARDSI stresses the need for the government to plan policy and allocate health and welfare resources for the future. There has to be fundamental awareness among policymakers, clinicians, and the public,” Sreekanth P. Krishnan, honorary secretary of the ARDSI, Thiruvananthapuram, in a pressnote issued here said. He called for more community-based services, welfare, and support.

The Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment is organising a function to release the two reports as part of the observance of World Alzheimer’s Day. “The council will campaign to create awareness and prompt action to tackle dementia,” V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, KSCSTE Executive Vice-President, said.

Keywords: dementia