Alzheimer’s Disease International Launches World Alzheimer’s Month
Tuesday, 25th September 2012
Published 25 September 2012.
Alzheimer’s Disease International has marked September 2012 as the first global World Alzheimer’s Month – an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge the stigma of dementia. The theme of this year’s Alzheimer’s Month is Dementia: Living Together, when Alzheimer’s associations across the world are encouraged to focus on reducing the stigma associated with the condition and make communities more dementia-friendly.
Dementia is a disease that can be caused by various progressive illnesses that affect memory, thinking and the ability to perform daily activities. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia but there are others such as vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia. Dementia primarily affects older people, although there are an increasing number of cases amongst people under the age of 65.
It is estimated that there were 36 million people living with dementia worldwide in 2010. This is expected to increase to 66 million by 2030 and 115 million by 2050. The global cost of dementia is $604 billion – equal to 1% of global GDP and this is likely to increase as more people suffer from the condition.
Dementia is the most common cause of dependency amongst older people and both health and social care systems will experience huge pressures in the future as it becomes more prevalent. Globally, less than 25% of people with dementia receive a formal diagnosis. This means that many people do not receive the care and support they need to continue to enjoy a good quality of life in the community.
It is considered that a key barrier to making progress in helping people with dementia is the stigma that is attached to it. The World Alzheimer’s Report 2012 found that 75% of people with dementia and 64% of family carers believe that there are negative associations for people diagnosed with dementia, and 40% of people with dementia report that they have been avoided or treated differently.
This stigma is not helped by the fact that it is the late stages of the condition that are typically depicted in the media, at which point people are often unable to carry out even basic tasks such as communication or self-care. Society tends to focus on ways in which the person is impaired rather than his / her intact skills and abilities. People therefore assume that once a diagnosis of dementia is made an individual no longer has the ability to maintain a high quality of life in the community. This prevents many people from acknowledging symptoms and, consequently, from obtaining the care and support they need.
The World Alzheimer’s Report makes a number of key recommendations in overcoming the stigma of dementia ranging from educating the public, to involving people with dementia in their communities, to improving training amongst primary healthcare physicians.
It is also recommended that the quality of care at home and care homes is improved. Many older people are now able to benefit from high quality home care services which specialise in helping people with dementia. These services will be vital in maximising the opportunity for people to remain independent in the community for as long as possible.
Carefound is a provider of specialist home care and dementia care services to elderly people in North Yorkshire, enabling clients to continue to live independently in the comfort of their own home whilst maintaining the highest quality of life achievable. Services provided include basic help in the home,companionship, personal care, medication help, post-operative rehabilitation, respite care and specialist help such as dementia care and palliative care. The flexible service ranges from 1 hour to 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, including bank holidays, and can also encompass 24-hour live in care services.
Source: Carefound, Alzheimer’s Disease International.