Global to Local:  Dementia Action Plans Urgently Needed

Posted by Pam Brandon on May 30, 2024 11:15:00 AM

A Staggering Rise in Dementia Cases

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 55 million people currently live with dementia worldwide, a figure expected to soar to 78 million by 2030 and 139 million by 2050. This dramatic increase highlights an urgent global health challenge that demands immediate and sustained action.

The Silent Epidemic of Undiagnosed Dementia

Compounding this crisis is the alarming number of undiagnosed cases. Research indicates that in high-income countries, only 20-50% of dementia cases are recognized and documented in primary care. The situation is even more dire in low and middle-income countries. For instance, a study in India suggests that 90% of dementia cases go undiagnosed. Extrapolating these findings globally, it’s estimated that three-quarters of individuals with dementia lack a formal diagnosis, thereby missing out on essential treatment, care, and support .

Dementia in Our Communities

People living with dementia are part of our everyday lives. They are our neighbors, friends, family members, and community members we interact with in places like grocery stores, banks, and community centers and faith communities. While many benefit from strong support systems, advanced technology, home care, adult day centers and senior living, millions are left isolated and struggling in unsafe conditions with minimal support.

Disparities in Access to Care

The disparity in access to healthcare and support services is glaring. In the United States, zip codes can determine the quality of care and support available to those with dementia. In developing countries, the number of dementia cases is increasing at a much faster rate due to health disparities, escalating the crisis daily.

Urgent Need for Community Preparedness

There is an urgent need for every community, from towns to entire countries, to enhance dementia awareness and caregiver education rapidly. Without such efforts, we risk exacerbating the challenges faced by people living with dementia and their families, leading to unsustainable costs and increased mortality.

The WHO's Global Action Plan

The WHO's Global action plan on the public health response to dementia 2017-2025 aims to improve the lives of those with dementia and their carers, while reducing dementia's impact on communities and countries. The plan outlines key areas for action:

  • Increasing Awareness and Prioritization: Promoting dementia awareness at all societal levels.
  • Reducing Dementia Risk: Implementing strategies to minimize risk factors.
  • Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care: Ensuring timely diagnosis and adequate care.
  • Support for Carers: Providing necessary support for caregivers.
  • Strengthening Information Systems: Enhancing data collection and analysis for better policy-making.
  • Research and Innovation: Fostering advancements in understanding and treating dementia.

Moving from Framework to Action

While frameworks at various levels are being developed, more needs to be done at a faster pace. Effective models provide a roadmap, but it is stakeholders who turn these plans into reality. At AGE-u-cate Training Institute, we are dedicated to fostering collaborations and partnerships to drive this essential work forward.

Call to Action

If you are part of a community-based organization, government entity, health plan, aging service provider, university, college, or training organization, we invite you to join us in addressing this significant public health crisis. Together, we can enhance dementia awareness, improve caregiver education, and ensure that communities worldwide are better prepared to support those living with dementia.

As our work expands globally, we welcome conversations and brainstorming that will lead to meaningful work.  Please contact us today to see how we can make a difference!

Contact Us


By understanding and addressing the growing dementia crisis, we can create a world where individuals with dementia live with dignity, support, and meaning. The time to act is now.


References:

  1. Alzheimer's Disease International. Dementia Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.alzint.org/about/dementia-facts-figures/dementia-statistics/
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Topics: Global Initiatives, #DementiaLive, #Dementia Ready Communities

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