Indian Catholic Church’s response to the elderly with neurodegenerative and mental illnesses

  • H.E. Msgr. Vincent M. Concessao Catholic Bishops Conference of India & The Catholic Health Association of India
  • Rev. Dr. Tomi Thomas The Catholic Health Association of India
  • Anto Maliekal The Catholic Health Association of India
Keywords: Elderly, Neurodegenerative Illnesses, Dementia, Mental Disorders, Catholic Church, India, Nurse Practitioners, Task-shifting, The Catholic Health Association of India, CHAI, Indian Church, Health Sector

Abstract

This article provides an overview of the status of the elderly in India, especially those who suffer from neurodegenerative illnesses. It highlights how the Catholic Church in India responds to the socially and economically marginalized and vulnerable among the elderly, the emerging challenges for the elderly and those involved in geriatric care, and offers recommendations for a way forward for the Church. In spite of the commendable efforts, much needs to be done by the Church for the elderly. The Church must utilize the full potential of health care networks like the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) and other Faith-Based-Health-Networks (FBHNs). Inculcating the culture of “involving all” in Christ’s healing ministry, the Church in India can facilitate the building of Caring Communities to enable senior citizens to live their twilight years with dignity and peace. The Church can facilitate the democratization and decentralization of medical knowledge through task-shifting. This calls for the empowerment of local communities with information and skills to access health and health care as a fundamental right.

Author Biographies

H.E. Msgr. Vincent M. Concessao, Catholic Bishops Conference of India & The Catholic Health Association of India
Emeritus Archbishop of  Delhi, Bishop Responsible for Pastoral Care in Health, Catholic Bishops Conference of India & Ecclesiastical Adviser, The Catholic Health Association of India
Rev. Dr. Tomi Thomas, The Catholic Health Association of India
Director General, The Catholic Health Association of India
Anto Maliekal, The Catholic Health Association of India
Programme Manager, The Catholic Health Association of India

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Published
2014-06-19