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Dementia: National dialogue needed, report says

December 9, 2013
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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Countries around the world should initiate a national dialogue about how long-term care will be provided and financed, especially for those with dementia, according to a policy brief issued by Alzheimer's Disease International. Plans should give equal priority to policymaking, health and social care service and health system development, the report adds.

“The Global Impact of Dementia 2013-2050” indicates that the number of people living with dementia worldwide is expected to increase from 44 million today to 76 million in 2030 and to 135 million by 2050. Only 13 countries, however, have implemented a national dementia plan.

“While we all hope for advances in treatment that could blunt the impact of the coming epidemic, we need to agree now to work together to close the diagnosis and treatment gap,” says Martin Prince, MD, of King’s College London and author of the policy brief. “Nobody should be left without access to support and care.”

High-income countries—for instance, those in G8 government forum (the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom)—have borne the brunt of the growth, according to the policy brief. Other areas around the world are affected, too, however. In the next few decades, the report states, the global burden of the disease will shift to low- and middle-income countries, with 71 percent of those with dementia living in lower and middle-income countries by 2050.

The G8 Dementia Summit is set for Dec. 11 in London, with the goal of developing coordinated global action on dementia.

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