It is certainly not new information that the number of people with dementia is rapidly growing – not only in the countries that are represented in this project proposal, but in all Europe and all over the world.
People live longer and this is the main reason for the increase in the number of people affected by dementia.
Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, with nearly 60% living in low- and middle-income countries. Every year, there are nearly 10 million new cases. The estimated proportion of the general population aged 60 and over with dementia at a given time is between 5 to 8 per 100 people. The total number of people with dementia is projected to reach 82 million in 2030 and 152 in 2050. Much of this increase is attributable to the rising numbers of people with dementia living in low- and middle-income countries.
More than 7 million Europeans are directly affected by dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form. By 2050, there will be approximately 18.66 million Europeans with a dementia disease. (Source: WHO). Figures from the Danish Dementia Research Centre tell us that the number of people diagnosed with dementia in Denmark will increase from 87.319 in 2017 to 149.882 in 2040.
As we can see, in the future, the number of people suffering from dementia will grow and consequently, the socio-economic burden will continue to increase. Due to their prevalence, cost and profound impact on society, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia are public health priorities in EU Member States.
As most European countries are recognizing the challenge they are facing, they have launched national dementia plans with many initiatives to be carried out. In the more wealthy countries, new technology is developed and implemented in the field.
However, there seems to be a missing link between on one side: all the research done, all the existing knowledge, the awareness, the enormous amount of money spent – and on the other side: the priority this topic is given in the education of the basic care staff in the care educations in Europe.
The direct target groups of the activities of this project are the following:
• Trainers and teachers in care educations
• Students at care educations
• Care staff
• Decision makers in the field of education
However, relatives of people with dementia will also benefit from the project results and the final beneficent is the person suffering from dementia.
In two of the partner countries, Holland and Denmark, elder care, including care of people with dementia, is institutionalized – it is the responsibility of society. However in Greece and Italy, the overwhelming majority of those who suffer from this disease are cared for by their relatives, who invest their time and money in the care.
The objectives are:
• to improve the competences of teachers and trainers who educate and train care givers with regard to dementia
• to improve competences of the care givers with regard to dementia
This includes not only gaining knew knowledge but also considering the approach to people with dementia
• to extend and qualify the cooperation between educational institutions and care giver organizations
• to elevate the status of care for people with dementia as it is a low-status area in the field of care. To make it more attractive and thus easier to hire staff for this kind of care – and for care in general
• to give suggestions and recommendation to the decision makers in the field of basic health care education. In spite of the facts about dementia that is mentioned in the above, the topic “dementia” is given low priority in the basic care educations, for example in the Danish social and health care helper and social and health care assistant educations.
Only in Europe?
This project is carried out internationally because we want to exchange experiences and best practices between very different ways of caring for people with dementia in different countries – including the approach to the person, who needs the care. What can we learn from each other with regard to care, rehabilitation and least but not least, approach? How can acknowledge on procedures and practices from other countries help us improve. And how can we develop new things together? This is what we are going to find out in the DEAL project.