As life expectancy increases in India, the number of people living with dementia will also rise. Yet little is known about how people in India cope with dementia, how relationships and identities change through illness and loss. In addressing this question, this book offers a rich ethnographic account of how middle-class families in urban India care for their relatives with dementia. From the husband who wakes up at 3 am to feed his wife ice-cream to the daughters who gave up employment for seven years to care for their mother with dementia, this book illuminates the local idioms on dementia and aging, the personal experience of care-giving, the functioning of stigma in daily life, and the social and cultural barriers in accessing support.
Offering a timely and accessible entry into the everyday world of care this book adds to the current research around dementia care in developing world contexts. The analyses highlight the complexities of care, ageing, culture and love in Indian families in an era of globalisation, money, transnationalism and migration. Simultaneously it also shows how cultural frameworks historically specific to India, such as medical pluralism and hope for a cure, the emotional currency of feeding and eating, and the powerful bonds of kinship and reciprocity, continue to structure everyday worlds and practices.
Targeted to anthropologists, South Asian specialists, transcultural psychiatrists, gerontologists, public health experts and social scientists interested in the fields of ageing, gerontology and culture, this book will also have relevance to families and carers for people with dementia.
Bianca Brijnath is a NHMRC Early Career Fellow in the Department of General Practice, Monash University, Australia.
Table of Contents:
1. Methods and Character Building
2. The Diagnostic Process
3. Therapeutics and Health Seeking
4. The Economies of Care
5. Alzheimer’s and the Indian Appetite
6. Stigma and Loneliness in Care
7. The Journey to Silence
Conclusion: ‘This is the Time for Romance’