A UNIVERSITY of Stirling graduate who was inspired to study following her husband’s dementia diagnosis is celebrating her graduation despite losing him to the condition during her studies.

Anupama Gadicherla, 58, who completed an MSc Dementia Studies, dedicated the last three years to improving her knowledge of the condition in order to better care for her partner, Suresh.

Anupama, who undertook the course from her native India, said: “I had no clue about dementia until my husband started showing signs of the disease at just 42 years old. After hundreds of doctor visits, misdiagnosis and a lot of time, we were finally told he had early on-set dementia.

“In India, there is a lack of awareness about the condition and I wanted to understand what my husband was going through and what was to come, so I could care for him better. Stirling had the best designed course, covering compelling subjects that I knew would help increase my knowledge.”

Anupama was able to secure a scholarship from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and study from her home in Bangalore, overcoming a number of challenges to complete her course. As the main breadwinner, she continued to work full-time while also caring for Suresh and keeping on top of University work.

She said: “My knowledge on dementia was purely through first-hand experience. I was way behind my fellow students and probably put in double the hours of what was expected, while caring for my husband and working a full time job.

“The death of my father and the end-of-life stage leading to the death of my husband in my final year – he was just 59 years old when he passed - took an emotional toll. The teaching staff were hugely supportive.”

Following graduation, as well as continuing to raise awareness of dementia in her homeland, Anupama also has plans to open a care home.

She said: “Suresh was the reason I got involved with dementia and now, is my reason to live and spread as much awareness as I can. I want to use my knowledge to create a one-of-a-kind experience for those in need.”

Anupama travelled to the University of Stirling on Thursday, June 27 to collect her award and was one of more than 2,000 students to celebrate their graduation last week.