Safwan is 73 years old, an old veteran from the Bangladesh / Pakistan war of 1970/71. His family are struggling with his annoyance at the Pakistani neighbours. Rather than continue to be a good friend to the Ahmed family, Safwan has become obsessed with talking about the current unfairness of East Pakistan. His younger family members are confused as to why granddad is behaving in this way. At the same time, he seems to act increasingly confused, not really feeling he is at home, confused perhaps or going crazy.
There was no need to speak to the GP because there was nothing physically wrong with Safwan. Time passed and the family became worried about his mental health, confused, argumentative, agitated, often angry over things that were of little concern to anyone. Eventually they spoke to some friends who said go see a ‘pir’, a spiritual guide or healer, who would exorcise a ‘jinn’ out of him. However, the youngsters in the family were more concerned about the mental health rather than their granddad’s spiritual health.
Initially the GP put things down to old age, but the grandson was insisting for a referral to some kind of specialist. He argued with the GP that something was wrong with granddad. According to the grandson, the GP was hesitant but never the less referred the family to the memory clinic for an assessment. The grandson said they suspected moderate dementia and that symptoms and behaviours being expressed were in line with probable dementia – however there was no appropriate tool at their disposal in Bangla to assess Safwan.
Today, the family is still struggling with Safwan’s erratic outbursts and aggression, but they have been learning about dementia and how to manage these behaviours.