Every September, World Alzheimer’s Month https://www.alzint.org/get-involved/world-alzheimers-month/ puts the spotlight firmly on dementia.
Launched in 2012 by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), World Alzheimer’s Month is the international campaign to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. Now in its 10th year, this global awareness raising campaign revolves around World Alzheimer’s Day on 21st September.
The theme for the 2021 campaign is Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s and it is all about the power of knowledge. During the campaign, ADI is focusing on the warning signs of dementia and the importance of a timely diagnosis.
Diagnosis is still a major challenge globally, with estimates that 90% of cases still go undiagnosed and often with long wait times.
In seeking out information, advice and support, and potentially a diagnosis, people are better able to prepare, to plan and to adapt.
A new case of dementia arises somewhere in the world every 3 seconds and up to three quarters of those with dementia worldwide have not received a diagnosis.
There are currently estimated to be over 55 million people worldwide living with dementia. The number of people affected is set to rise to 139 million by 2050, with the greatest increases in low and middle income countries.
Counting the cost of dementia
According to ADI, dementia costs the worldwide economy US$1.3 Trillion, and if it was a country, it would be the 14th largest economy. But it’s not just about the financial impact of dementia; over50% of carers globally say their health has suffered as a result of their caring responsibilities even whilst expressing positive sentiments about their role.
Furthermore, in some parts of the world the disease is not understood and people living with dementia are perceived as witches or possessed by the devil; some are ostracised from their community and left to fend for themselves, while others, in extreme cases sadly are killed.
Standards in dementia care
By implementing specific standards into the care for someone living dementia, as well as ensuring their physical and clinical needs are met, we are ensuring a person is treated with dignity and respect, and receiving care specific to their mental and physical needs.
Earlier this year, working with our Ambassador and Senior Adviser in India, Mansoor Dalal, https://standardswise-int.co.uk/about-us we launched a Standards and Accreditation Programme in India. This programme can be applied in the private, commercial, non-government organisation (NGO) sectors across the entire eco-system of senior living and home care, and across all socio-economic strata, including Specialty Care Community, specific to Alzheimer’s.
The eleven Standards cover all aspects of senior living community based in-home care services and vary from Governance and Risk Management to Financial Sustainability and Service Delivery.
As well as including standards in High Care and Hygiene, Health Safety, Infection Prevention & Pandemic Control we also set the standard for Elder Empowerment and Participation and Protecting Human Rights and Minimising Abuse and Neglect.
When setting standards, it’s all too easy to focus on the physical and medical needs of care provision, and the wellbeing needs specific to the individual are often a cursory afterthought. And this is all too easy to do when an individual has been diagnosed with dementia. A person’s support needs are very different at the start of their dementia diagnosis than those who have an advanced stage.
This is why when we set our standards, we feature the perspective of residents and the people needing support, and distinguish core or mandatory requirements from a developmental or optional outcome specified for each Standard.
Journey through a Diagnosis of Dementia
Last year, ADI launched the world’s most comprehensive report on dementia-related design and the built environment. https://www.alzint.org/news-events/news/world-alzheimer-report-2020-design-dignity-dementia-dementia-related-design-and-the-built-environment/
This year’s ADI report ‘Journey through the diagnosis of dementia ‘ https://www.alzint.org/resource/world-alzheimer-report-2021/ will feature first-hand experiences of receiving a diagnosis from people with dementia. It includes over 50 essays from leading experts around the world and is supported by findings from 3 key global surveys, including: 1,111 clinicians, 2,325 people with dementia and carers, and over 100 national Alzheimer and dementia associations.
Join us once again this year in raising awareness of dementia - dementia may take away the memory but it cannot take away the love.
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