Tapas Founder Prajakta Wadhavkar on Dementia Care in India

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Dementia is a group of diseases that cause a slow and chronic degeneration in the brain, hampering all cognitive functionalities. Impacting older adults aged 65 years and above, Dementia affects 4.1 million people in India, and yet remains an underrated and a less talked about disease.

While this mental condition comes with loud presentations and implications, it is still considered an age-related problem and is often ignored. Memory loss, trouble in conducting day-to-day activities, problem in communication, confusion are few signs that attribute to Dementia. The cognitive decline is almost inevitable and cannot be cured completely. The patient can grow violent if not treated appropriately. However, the progression can be controlled if properly taken care of. Hence, the need for special care comes in picture.

It is not only life-changing for the person suffering from it, but also for the caregivers – the family members who tend to the person suffering. Caregivers despite realizing that the unusual behavior in seniors is not just an aspect of aging, but a mental condition, still at times, out of care or sheer lack of awareness, ignore the need for a systematic assisted care. Which in turn, impacts the quality of life of older adults.

There are various options available nowadays for proper caregiving for seniors such as home care assistance, day-cares, community support groups and assisted living centers.

Understanding the need to address the dearth of awareness on Dementia care in India, HappyAging met Prajakta Wadhavkar, the founder of Tapas Elder Care at her Dementia care center in Pashan, Pune. We discussed about the current mental health and Dementia care situation in the country.

Assisted Living – Need of the hour

With a vision to sensitize society towards holistic care for the aging population, Prajakta started Tapas as an elder care center and not just another old age home or vruddhashram. She researched deeply to understand the needs of the geriatric population. She says in our society, old age homes are looked upon with a lot of negativity and are attached instantly with a feeling of abandonment and guilt. But in reality, not all families abandon parents when they opt for care centers.

In current times, the caretakers of the supra-seniors (the 80+ year-olds) are also in the senior age group, while the young ones in the families are occupied in careers. Hence, the caretakers become the sandwich generation. They have to attend to their parents and also have to take care of their children and grandchildren, while they themselves are in need for care. And thus, at times, especially when the elderly are suffering from serious conditions like Dementia, assisted care becomes the need of the hour.

Also Read: Love Beyond Reason: A Heartfelt Conversation With a Dementia Caregiver

Assessing Care Facilities for Dementia Patients

As the caregiving business for seniors slowly gaining importance, Prajakta says it is necessary to assess the facilities properly. A lot of service-providers mushroom around in Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities, but it is essential that one evaluates their efficiency and expertise in providing complete care. The elderly do not only require medical care with Dementia, but also an all-inclusive safe environment where their emotional and psycho-social needs are met. The following can be the areas where one could assess a care facility:

  • Residential infrastructure
  • Trained staff
  • Neurological/Psychological/Medical Assessments
  • Caregiving support
  • Family support counseling

About Tapas

Tapas as the name translates to ‘Tapasya’ – the feeling of dedication, works dedicatedly on providing comprehensive care to the seniors. Their trained support staff including doctors, counselors, nursing team and the attendants look after the medical, emotional and social needs of the seniors. They focus on seniors’ requirements in three spheres – physical disability, neuro psychological disability and dependence on caring system. They have two set-ups at present – The Dementia Care Center and the Healthy Active Aging Center.

From health to emotional and social requirements of the seniors, the centers also work on the family counseling and support fronts for the caregivers, who form the integral part of the seniors’ eco-system.

The ideology behind Tapas along with Prajkata and her staff’s dedication, insight and enthusiasm are indeed inspiring. HappyAging admires them for their thoughtful concept and wishes them all the luck and success with their future endeavours.

Watch the video to see what Prajakta Wadhavkar has to say about Dementia care in India.

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