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Residential dementia care centre on NIMHANS Sakalavara campus soon

It will provide care to patients and train caregivers, mental health professionals

A first of its kind government-run residential dementia care centre will soon come up on the Sakalavara Community Mental Health Centre campus of NIMHANS.

While the centre will be constructed with financial assistance from REC Foundation, the CSR arm of Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd., New Delhi, C.R. Chandrasekhar, former Professor of Psychiatry at NIMHANS and founder of Samadhana Counselling Centre in Bengaluru, has contributed ₹1 crore towards the operational expenditure of the centre. The project was launched on Wednesday.

Dr. Chandrashekar said he has made the donation in memory of his wife the late D.S. Rajeshwari Chandrashekar. “More philanthropists apart from the State and Central governments should come forward and donate funds for running the centre. As this is the only government residential care centre for dementia, it will benefit those from the underprivileged section of society,” he said.

P.T. Sivakumar, Professor of Psychiatry and Consultant in Geriatric Psychiatry Unit in the Department of Psychiatry at NIMHANS, said there is a need for residential care in at least 33% of patients with dementia. “However, less than 1% are able to afford and access residential care as there are hardly 20 dedicated dementia care centres in the country. All of them are private facilities or those run by NGOs,” he said.

In the first phase, the centre will have 40 beds. This will later be upgraded to a 100-bed facility. The centre will not just provide care to patients but will also train caregivers and mental health professionals in dementia care. “Training of family and professional caregivers for dementia care is also important. There is a need to develop a complete range of care systems that are affordable and accessible for those with limited economic capacity on priority,” he said.

Once operational, the centre will also provide hands-on training to those doing various geriatric mental health care courses and fellowship programmes at NIMHANS.

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