B'luru to have first govt dementia centre in country

Soon, Bengaluru will have first government dementia centre in country

Training of personnel into professional caregivers of dementia patients has also been planned

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo.

A government-run dementia care centre will soon come up at NIMHANS in Bengaluru, making it the first such centre in the country catering to patients of the brain condition whose treatment costs are prohibitively expensive.

The 100-bed REC (Rural Electrification Corporation) Centre for Dementia Care will be set up on the Sakalavara Community Mental Health Centre campus at the premier mental health institute on Bannerghatta Road, with construction set to begin in a few months.

Nearly one-third of patients with dementia need residential care, underscoring the need for more facilities. As of now, there are only 15 dedicated private dementia care centres in the country. 

Dementia ravages the brain, with patients showing a severe decline in mental ability, memory and other cognitive functions. Patients have difficulty in performing daily living functions, complex and basic activities.

An estimated 53 lakh elderly in the country, including 3.5 lakh in Karnataka, are estimated to 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.

The centre will provide rehabilitation and supportive care for persons with dementia and other chronic neuro-psychiatric illnesses. The design of the centre will be age-friendly and research on dementia-care management using non-pharmacological interventions will also be done.

Training of personnel into professional caregivers of dementia patients has also been planned.

Dr P T Sivakumar, Professor of Psychiatry and Consultant, Geriatric Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS, told DH, "Dementia care is very expensive. There is no centre in the government sector in India. This will be the first. We will initially start with 40 beds."

Talking about the costs, he said dedicated care ranges from a minimum of Rs 25,000 per month to one lakh.

"Also, services are available in Kolar for Rs 30,000 per month. In Bengaluru, it is much more costlier and is out of reach for even middle-class families," he said.

While the Rural Electrification Corporation provided Rs 10 crore for the construction of the centre, Prof C R Chandrashekhar, a former psychiatry professor and HOD at NIMHANS, donated Rs 1.09 crore.

The National Stock Exchange Foundation has also sanctioned Rs 1.37 crore donation under its CSR to start the training initiative at the centre.