The World Alzheimer Report 2013: Journey of caring: an analysis of long-term care for dementia, reveals that as the world population ages, the traditional system of ‘informal’ care by family, friends, and community will require much greater support.
The report considers the extent of the increase in numbers of older people needing care, the regional distribution of the problem, and the reasons for this, including the contribution of the global epidemic of dementia to these trends.
The report maps out the key components of a comprehensive system of continuing care and support for people with dementia, addressing some of the challenges in optimising quality of care, and the quality of life of those most affected.
Some of the key recommendations from the report include:
- Globally, 13% of people aged 60 or over require long-term care. Between 2010 and 2050, the total number of older people with care needs will nearly triple from 101 to 277 million
- Long-term care is mainly about care for people with dementia. Around half of all older people who need personal care have dementia and 80% of older people in nursing homes are living with dementia
- Governments around the world should make dementia a priority by implementing national plans, and by initiating urgent national debates on future arrangements for long-term care
- Front-line caregivers must be adequately trained and systems will need to be in place to ensure paid and unpaid carers receive appropriate financial reward in order to sustain the informal care system and improve recruitment and retention of paid carers
- Autonomy and choice should be promoted at all stages of the dementia journey, prioritising the voices of people with dementia and their caregivers
The report was researched and authored by Prof Martin Prince, Dr Matthew Prina and Dr Maëlenn Guerchet on behalf of the Global Observatory for Ageing and Dementia Care which is hosted at the Health Service and Population Research Department, King’s College London.