Pashupati Briddhashram Social Welfare Home for the Elderly sits on the outskirts of Kathmandu near the grounds of Nepal's most holy Hindu site of Pashupatinath. It houses approximately 240 residents. These residents suffer from many illnesses associated with old age; including paralysis, failing eyesight and deterioration of mental faculties.
There are currently only 9 carers at the facility, who struggle to cope with treating even the most basic of ailments due to chronic shortages in food, medication and sanitation supplies.
Major political upheaval in Nepal has led to the near collapse of a reliable health care system, especially in rural areas. Unable to deal with the complexities of their relative's illnesses, as well as the financial burdens inherent in the treatment of such illnesses, families often abandon their elders, who are then left to fend for themselves on the streets. In Nepal poor understanding of mental illnesses such as Dementia and Alzheimers ultimately leads to conditions going undiagnosed and mistreated.
This essay is the second part of a long-term project studying the treatment of the elderly in the developed and developing world. With particular emphasis on the global understanding of mental illnesses associated with old age.