Until there is an Alzheimer’s cure, there must be the very best care. That rings loud and clear to us at Ecumen as we look at the World Alzheimer Report 2013: ‘Journey of Caring: An analysis of long-term care for dementia.” As this disease impacts more and more people, it's imperative that we have people throughout the care profession who can help create a standard of care that honors a whole person's being and doesn't look to antipsychotic medications as a default way to "care." By making such an approach a standard, we can improve so many lives of people living with this disease. It can also help people across the world who aren't professional caregivers to learn ways they can help make the lives better of their loved ones who live with Alzheimer's.
According to the report, about half of all older people who need personal care have dementia, and 80% of older people in nursing homes are living with dementia. The worldwide cost of dementia care is currently over $600 billion (US dollars), or around 1% of global GDP.
The report was done 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. The report’s key recommendations include the following and illustrate how integral to world health and life quality, the role of high-quality Alzheimer’s care is and will be going forward.
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
Systems should to be in place to monitor the quality of dementia care in all settings – whether in care homes or in the community
Autonomy and choice should be promoted at all stages of the dementia journey, prioritizing the voices of people with dementia and their caregivers
Health and social care systems should be better integrated and coordinated to meet people’s needs
Front-line caregivers must be adequately trained and systems will need to be in place to ensure paid and unpaid care receive appropriate financial reward in order to sustain the informal care system and improve recruitment and retention of paid carers
Care in care homes is a preferred option for a significant minority – quality of life at home can be as good, and costs are comparable if the unpaid work of family caregivers is properly valued.
- The quality of care in care homes should be monitored through the quality of life and satisfaction of their residents, in addition to routine inspections, as care homes will remain an important component of long-term care.