A Passage to India
Andrew and Ann Pascoe, who both live in East Sutherland, will be visiting India in May 2012 as part of a Travelling Fellowship funded by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. The purpose of the visit is to research issues around early detection of both the symptoms of dementia and stress in carers of people with dementia, but more importantly how to red flag these issues and do something about it. These are important concerns, where better understanding and early intervention can make a huge difference to quality of life.
Over eleven years ago, Ann and Andrew retired to the small hamlet of Portgower. Sadly, six years ago, Andrew was diagnosed with vascular dementia, at the age of 58. While Ann received assistance from an Alzheimer Scotland support worker, that assistance was based in Inverness (some two hours away), and required both Ann and the support worker to meet at Tain – a trip that would not be possible for many rural carers. Since this support worker retired, there has been no source of one-to-one support available to Ann who is Andrew’s primary source of care. Until recently, Andrew’s only support was visits from a CPN a couple times a year. Ann is also a member of the National Dementia Carers Action Network and is an Alzheimer Scotland Carer Ambassador.
Ann said, ‘This is a wonderful opportunity to share knowledge about dementia, an illness with a truly global impact. Last year I saw a paper presented by Dr Amit Dias from Goa in India. He talked about a community project created to bridge the gap between struggling families, a lack of local resources and overworked clinicians. The project also worked to raise awareness and understanding of the illness; vital in an area where diagnosis is extremely low and dementia is still seen as just another part of the aging process.”
“Coming from a rural community in the Highlands, I saw very real similarities between our experience and that of the project in Goa. Could we improve our own dementia support through lessons learned in India? And could we share some of our achievements to help people with dementia and their carers?”