Start an awareness campaign about Dementia

Start an awareness campaign about Dementia

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payal saxena started this petition to The Times of India and

One day, he missed the time of his favourite TV show. A few days later, he forgot the route to his most frequented bank. "It's age", we thought. Or did we? If I remember right, we mocked. Fast forward a few weeks more, and he forgot to go for his walk, an activity he had engaged in, daily, for the last 20 years, come rain, storm, hail.

Even as mockery of the situation started slipping away from our minds, close relatives would meet him and casually say to me, "your father has gone bonkers". 

I don't know why didn't I confront that relative there itself. Was it stigma? I don't know why did I not see the signs? Was it lack of awareness? I still have not figured out, why did I, the well-educated, well-travelled former journalist, not understand anything? Was it complete lack of the knowledge of warning signs?

It was too late by the time the MRI reports came. The Neurologist remarked. "There is no cure of something like this and certainly, very difficult to even detect it at the right time." "What is something like this?", we asked the doctor. He replied, "Dementia". 

What followed is still a blur in my memory. Did I and my entire family become numb? Helpless, almost paralysed? Yes. We tried everything that we could, to slow the progress of Dementia, to somehow save him. But could not. 

He slipped away, faster than sand clutched in a fist. Very soon, we lost him. Was I relieved for him? Yes! I could not see him, an astute IAS officer, succumb to the failings of his irreparable brain cells.

But was my life the same? No! Never! Can never be. I spent hours, years, endless moments of guilt. 

Am I looking for sympathy or a "I am so sorry for your loss" remark? Not at all! All I am looking for is awareness, knowledge, early diagnosis, love, respect, care for those who are suffering, and for their caretakers.

I do not want anyone else to go through hat I went through. I want to contribute to creating awareness about this silent, invisible disorder. In order to achieve this, I urge Media to start campaigning for the awareness of Dementia. To remove the stigma. To treat it as normal as a heart disease or diabetes, so that people can come forward and talk about it and hope to get a treatment, or at-least a respectable bought time and dignity.

India has a serious and growing problem of dementia, but it it is neglected due to various reasons, the main one being a lack of awareness about it's warning signs and diagnosis.

According to recent published figures, over four million Indians above 60 have the condition, which is around 3.7 percent of that population. Approximately, one out of every 16 households with an elder has someone with dementia. Yet, dementia remains a neglected area in healthcare, and many families do not seek or get suitable diagnosis or treatment for dementia symptoms. 

Let's get together and #endthestigma and Create #dimentiaawareness

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At 25,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!