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ILC Global Alliance calls for a global response to dementia

The projected global increase in the incidence of dementia, from 35.6 million cases in 2010 to 115.4 million by 2050[1], requires an urgent and comprehensive global response, according to a consortium of international organisations.

The International Longevity Centre Global Alliance, [an international consortium of 12 organisations] made up of 12 centres, has today published the “Cape Town Declaration on Dementia”.

The Declaration, which takes a human rights based approach to dementia, proposes a broad range of strategies in the form of 12 recommendations. The underlying message of the declaration is that all levels of governments should unite, alongside civil society, academia, communities and individuals, to enhance and expand care responses to dementia, and promote and protect the rights of persons with dementia and their carers by:

  1. Engaging in a multidisciplinary dialogue to establish a common framework of standards for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dementia;
  2. Developing and implementing intergovernmental and national integrated policies and plans of action dedicated to dementia, as well as comprehensive policies and plans of action on ageing which incorporate dementia;
  3. Supporting increased funding by governmental and non-governmental sources of research on all aspects of dementia and associated caregiving;
  4. Urging pharmaceutical companies to develop and supply affordable dementia medications to less developed regions;
  5. Increasing the number of health care professionals trained in geriatrics, and in dementia in particular, in order to enhance dementia screening and diagnostic skills, and the provision of ongoing care;
  6. Developing awareness of and education on dementia, including measures to prevent or delay the onset of dementia and to reduce the discrimination and isolation often experienced by persons with dementia and their family members;
  7. Establishing models of care for persons with dementia which partner health care services with housing services, community based care and legal protection;
  8. Instituting measures to ensure the safety of older persons with dementia and protect them from abuse, in both domestic settings and institutional settings such as hospitals and long-term care facilities;
  9. Encouraging civil society organisations to advocate for improved dementia care and to expand care services to older persons with dementia and their caregivers;
  10. Providing support, including training and respite care services, to informal caregivers of older persons with dementia;
  11. Supporting the drafting and adoption of a United Nations convention on the human rights of older persons which would clarify those rights, create binding obligations on states, enhance accountability, and raise awareness of the issues which impact the lives of older persons including those with dementia;
  12. Ensuring that all plans, strategies and programmes are developed in consultation with persons with dementia and their families and caregivers.

Monica Ferreira, co-president of the ILC Global Alliance, said “We are witnessing enormous growth in the number of older people globally. The more than 700 million older people in 2009 are expected to increase in number to reach 2 billion by 2050, with the most rapid increases occurring in developing countries. By 2050 nearly 80 per cent of the world’s older population is projected to live in less developed regions.[2] Increasing longevity means that not only will more people live longer, but more will be at risk of contracting diseases common in advanced age, such as dementia. Developing countries have other priorities and competing demands for limited healthcare resources, and will be particularly challenged in providing care and support for older citizens with dementia.

Baroness Sally Greengross, co-president of the ILC Global Alliance added: “Dementia has a devastating impact on society, families and individuals. It not only exacts a heavy cost on the individual and his/her family, but represents a significant challenge to the sustainability of economies. Global problems call for global solutions. We have a responsibility not only as citizens of our own country, but as global citizens to work together to address the challenge of dementia.

The declaration we are launching today is a starting point – a work in progress. We want to hear from our global partners across civil society and government and look forward to a dialogue about how to achieve our common goals.”

About the ILC Global Alliance

International Longevity Centre (ILC) Global Alliance is an international consortium whose members seek to understand and address the profound consequences of population ageing and increasing longevity on society and individuals.

More information about the ILC Global Alliance is available at http://www.ilc-alliance.org

Notes to Editor

  • A full copy of the declaration is available on the ILC Global Alliance website at: http://www.ilc-alliance.org/story/lc-cape-town-declaration-global-response-dementia-call-action.html
  • The ILC Cape Town Declaration on a Global Response to Dementia – A Call to Action (Cape Town Declaration on Dementia – short title) is a consensus outcome document of the symposium on “The Globalisation of Dementia: Issues and Responses” held in Cape Town, South Africa on October 26, 2010.
  • The Cape Town Declaration on Dementia is being published in a special issue on dementia of the International Federation on Ageing’s journal, Global Ageing: Issues & Action (available July 2011).

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