Dementia: Can we reduce the risk?

22 September 2014

Alzheimer's Disease International"Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide. It has physical, psychological, social and economical impact on caregivers, families and society." (WHO*)

September 21 is World Alzheimer's Day. This year, the international campaign to raise awareness and challenge the stigma around dementia is focusing on the potential to reduce the risk of dementia. Alzheimer's Disease International have just published the World Alzheimer's report looking at risk reduction and the prevention of dementia. Read the report here.

Dementia is not a normal part of ageing. It is a condition affecting the normal functions of memory, language, perception and thought, which impairs the ability to maintain the activities of daily life. With dementia affecting 35.6 million people worldwide and with 7.7 million new cases every year, this is an issue which is likely to affect us all in one way or another, whether directly or through someone we know, a family member or friend.* 

At the G8 Summit on Dementia in 2013, G8 Health Ministers committed to an ambition to identify a cure or disease-modifying therapy for dementia by 2025 and to increase the amount of funding for dementia research to reach that goal. They also called for greater innovation to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their carers.** 

Reducing the risk of dementia and learning how to treat the disease is important in decreasing the numbers of people affected by alzheimer's in the long-term. But what does that mean for social care in the meantime? For now, a big part of the issue is how can we support people living with dementia, and ensure they get the best possible care? 

Dementia is a key theme for Research in Practice for Adults in 2014-2015 and forms an important strand of our delivery plan. We have events taking place and resources coming out to support practitioners working with people who have dementia. These particularly focus on the complex issues of how to maximise independence for people living with dementia and support enablement, as well as how to involve people with dementia in the development of services and the provision of their own care. 

Our Key Messages Workshop for frontline staff and practitioners: Involving People with Dementia, takes place on 26 November 2014 and will provide important insights into how to involve people who have dementia in service development and provision. This will be led by people who have dementia and who are involved in the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Dementia Engagement and Empowerment (DEEP) project. The workshop draws on the experiences of people living with dementia, as well as on latest research/evidence in this area. Find out more about the workshop by emailing events@ripfa.org.uk.

Further resources due for publication October-March: 

  • Strategic briefing: maximising independence for people with dementia
  • Councillors' briefing: Maximising Independence for People with Dementia
  • Key issue: Enablement in Demential
  • Practitioner briefing: End of Life Care
  • Practice tool: Involving People with Dementia

*Source: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs362/en/

**Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/265868/2901669_G8_DementiaSummitCommunique_acc.pdf

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