Dementia has become a health priority worldwide. It is a terms used for the diseases and conditions characterized by a decline in a person’s memory, language, problem solving and other thinking skills. The individual suffering from it faces difficulties in performing everyday activities. Certain changes also occur in the brain which leading to the ultimate loss of nerve cells (neurons). Various developed countries like U.K, U.S.A, Canada, and France etc. are taking prominent steps in raising awareness about dementia with a dementia policy or plan. Unfortunately in the developing countries there is wide scope of improvement, including Pakistan. Various research studies indicate that more than 50% of people with dementia are in the developing countries and this is expected to rise by 71% by 2050. In the developing countries like Pakistan the speed of aging is faster and there is a lack of awareness of dementia and its symptoms. Most of the people attribute the condition to a range of factors, such as doing too much, stress, shock, social isolation and in more extreme cases, black magic. These misconceptions led to misunderstandings about care and prognosis. Worst of all, is the stigma associated with this disease like any other mental health problems and consider it as something occurring as a result of normal aging process, and traumatic events, stressors or physical weaknesses. Other people attribute the disease happening due to lack of care for one’s elders or even worse due to some fault of the patient concerned. Such misleading concepts impact adversely on these people’s struggle to cope with their condition.

Research is needed in Pakistan to identify people’s understanding of dementia so as to advocate for the most effective policies and to provide services to people with dementia and their caregivers. Most importantly, a national campaign should be implemented in the country to raise awareness about dementia, the experiences of people suffering from it and their families in Pakistan. These plans and policies should be capable enough to address the problem in a way tailored to our unique culture and demographics of Pakistan.

ESA KHAN,

Islamabad.