World Report on Alzheimer’s Disease, 2013

On September 19, 2013, Alzheimer’s Disease International released its world report on the analysis of long-term care for those with dementia.  It highlights the future of medical care for people with dementia, a global issue that requires action now.
Dr. Martin Prince of King’s College stated in his report on the future of long-term care for elderly that by 2050, 277 million people ages 60 and older will require specialized care, specifically those with dementia.  “Compared with other long-term care users, people with dementia have special needs.  They require more personal care, more hours of care, and more supervision, all of which is associated with greater strain on caregivers and higher costs.”

What does this mean?  The report points out that as the world population ages, the traditional system of “informal” care of loved ones by family and friends will require substantial support.
To get a better idea of the magnitude of this disease, his report analogized that, “If dementia care were a country, it would rank between Turkey and Indonesia and be the world’s 18th largest economy.”
The worldwide cost of dementia care is currently over $600 billion, or around 1% of the global GDP.
Dr. Prince argues that “living well with dementia is an attainable goal, and that maintaining or enhancing quality of life is the ultimate objective.”
The Global Observatory for Aging and Dementia Care released a report, authored by Dr. Martin Prince, Dr. Matthew Prina, and Dr. Maelenn Guerchet, that highlighted recommendations and action to take in response to their findings.

  • Governments should make dementia a priority by implementing national plans and by initiating urgent national debates on future arrangements for long-term care
  • Systems should be put in place to monitor the quality of dementia care in all settings, whether in retirement communities, nursing homes, or hospitals
  • Autonomy and choice should be promoted at all stages of the dementia journey, prioritizing the voices of people with dementia and their caregivers
  • Health and social care systems should be better integrated and coordinated to meet people’s needs
  • Front-line caregivers must be adequately trained
  • Nursing home administrators must recognize that care in a person’s home is a preferred option for a significant percentage of families because the quality of life at home can be as good, if not better, and costs are comparable.
  • The quality of care in care homes should be monitored based on the quality of life and satisfaction of their residents, in addition to routine inspections

It is crucial for the public to shed light on these issues in order to raise awareness.  Legislators need to act in order to respond to the significant need for assistance in the realm of long-term care for those with dementia that looms in the future.
Full article on the disease report
Full World Alzheimer’s Disease Report of 2013 is available here