In 1947, when India achieved independence, the average life expectancy of an Indian was 32 years, with birth rate being high and few people surviving to old age. With the advancement of medical sciences and implementation of family planning program, the crude birth rate and death rate declined significantly with the average life expectancy of an Indian going up to 68.3 years. However, living longer did not mean living well as the increased life expectancy did not translate to improved quality of life due to lifestyle-related chronic noncommunicable diseases and its sequelae. Dementia is one such disease of the elderly with high morbidity and considerable socioeconomic impact.
Dementia is a neurodegenerative disease of multifactorial causation, heterogeneous presentation, and variable prognosis. It is characterized by a decline in performance and cognitive impairment in multiple domains and affects a person’s independence in doing activities of daily living.It also contributes to significant health-care costs and caregiver burden, making it a public health priority. It is projected that around one in five persons from low- and middle-income countries are going to be above 60 years of age by 2050.
In countries like India, elderly are taken care by families and there is one elderly person for every 10 working-age persons, but this ratio will increase closer to one elderly for every 3 working-age population by 2100. With the increase in the elderly population, there would be a proportionate rise in elderly suffering from dementia as the prevalence of dementia in the elderly is 5%–7%. In absolute terms, there are about 35.6 million people living in the world currently with dementia and 7.7 million new cases of dementia added every year, i.e., nearly one case every 4 s with highest projections in South Asian nations such as India and China.The number of people living with dementia worldwide is projected to double by 2030 and more than treble by 2050, where majority would be in developing countries like India.