Mr Gautam and his family, current experience | India

Mr Gautam and his family, current experience | India

03 Mar 2022

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Mr Gautam is 45 years old. He lives with his wife, two small children and his mother in a rented apartment in a major metropolitan city in India. Mr Gautam and his wife both work full time. Mr Gautam has been working as a financial services consultant at an international consulting company. Mrs Gautam works as a software developer for an IT company. They recently bought a modern upmarket apartment and plan to move in after the renovations are completed. Over the past couple of months, Mr Gautam has been receiving complaints from his colleagues regarding his poor performance at work. Mr Gautam has been given multiple warnings by his employer, who eventually recommends that he see a physician.

Mr Gautam decides to visit his family physician at his private clinic for a consult. The family physician states that it is probably just stress that he is experiencing and advises Mr Gautam to exercise and engage in yoga and meditation. Mr Gautam pays for this service out-of-pocket. Mr Gautam continues to miss deadlines at work. He becomes very moody, has started hoarding stationary from the office supply room and recently misplaced confidential client files. The latter was considered unacceptable by his boss and Mr Gautam was fired.

With the loss of Mr Gautam’s job, Mrs Gautam starts to notice that her husband has begun to develop more behaviours that are not reflective of his personality and she decides to book an appointment with a psychiatrist at a hospital. She is very concerned as her husband’s father also had some undiagnosed behavioural problems before his death. The family has private health insurance coverage through Mrs Gautam’s job, that covers some hospital costs, tests and medications. At the psychiatrist appointment, the physician prescribes some medications and asks them to come back in two weeks for a follow-up. Mr Gautam’s symptoms continue to worsen, he begins to undress in public places and makes inappropriate comments to strangers or anyone that visits them. Friends and relatives start to avoid them and the family avoids social situations as well due to embarrassment. Mrs Gautam takes her husband back to see the psychiatrist, who suggests an MRI. They do the scan the next day and take the reports back to the psychiatrist, who then diagnoses Mr Gautam with frontotemporal dementia. He explains to Mrs Gautam that the disease is progressive and prescribes a few medications.

Mr and Mrs Gautam are not convinced by this diagnosis. They decide to get a second opinion from a neurologist in the same hospital. The neurologist sees the MRI and also diagnoses Mr Gautam with early onset frontotemporal dementia. Mrs Gautam’s mother-in-law helps take care of Mr Gautam and the children so that Mrs Gautam can continue to work. As Mr Gautam’s symptoms progresses, he develops severe behavioural problems. Mrs Gautam decides to hire a full time attender for her husband from a private elder care service company. The costs of this service is high and is exhausting her savings, as it is not covered under the health insurance scheme. Mrs Gautam eventually decides to admit her husband to a residential facility in the city since the family is having significant difficulty in coping with the behavioural problems. The cost of the residential facility is high and is also not covered by the health insurance scheme. Mrs Gautam decides to sell the house they had recently bought in order to meet the rising costs. The family’s lifestyle is affected, as they have to cut down on costs to meet the care provision needs of Mr Gautam. They also experience societal stigma for placing Mr Gautam in a residential facility, as caring for an ill loved one is considered a family responsibility.