The number of people worldwide with Alzheimer’s is staggering. Currently, upwards of 35 million people suffer from some form of dementia, a cognitive disease which hasÂ no known cause or cure.
And this is projected to triple by 2050 to 115 million.
Perhaps one encouraging sign out of these otherwise eye-opening numbers is the fact that experts from around the globe are currently working together for better Alzheimer’s care and family support, as evidenced in a collective report published by Alzheimer’s Disease International, a group comprised of 79 Alzheimer’s associations.
Among the many policy recommendations in the report, perhaps the biggest takeaway is the suggestion that countries should develop national plans directed at funding and monitoring quality care and support for dementia patients, as well as sharing care support among the state, private businesses, families, and others.
Some other key points are below.
- Alzheimer’s needs to become a national (and international) public health priority, one where countries develop efficient long-term care systems, from the initial diagnosis, to respite care as the disease progresses.
- Ongoing services for families after dementia diagnosis must improve.
- Governments should have policies in place now (or very soon) to finance this long-term care.
- Caregivers should be valued more–i.e., governments should offer payments directly to family caregivers. Likewise, caregiving professionals should be paid more.
- To reduce stress and ensure better care, family caregivers should receive more education, training, support, and respite.
- Worldwide, there should be at least ten times as much research money as there currently is invested in dementia to put it in line with other major health crises, such as cancer.
- The main goal should be to maintain/increase the quality of life for people with dementia.
You can read the full 2013 World Alzheimer Report here.
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