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Alzheimer Europe and AGE Platform Europe issue joint press release for World Alzheimer’s Day

Friday 21 September 2012

Age- and dementia- friendly environments as investment for a sustainable EU

“Investment in age-and dementia-friendly environments is greatly needed to support the active participation of our ageing populations in society and respond to Europe’s demographic challenge in a sustainable way,” points out Anne-Sophie Parent on the occasion of World Alzheimer’s Day on 21 September 2012, adding that “In creating those environments, we reduce the demand on health and long term care and create healthy environments which benefit everyone, while having a positive financial impact both on public and private expenses.”

With the numbers of people with dementia increasing with the ageing of the population and expected to reach 15 million by 2050 - creating environments that empower older people and people with dementia to lead independent lives and take an active part in society for longer must become a priority for EU decision-makers.

This requires aholistic approachto Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, which goes beyond medical treatment, and better coordination between all relevant stakeholders, in order to improve the quality of life and dignity of patients and their families. It is essential tocreate an environment that favours the inclusion of people with dementia and their relatives in their communitiese.g. by tackling the stigma attached to these diseases, favouring as much as possible community-based care, by supporting families and carers, adapting staff training and housing equipment and design, training bus drivers, salespersons, the police and other members of the public on how to deal with a person with Alzheimer’s, etc.

Age- and dementia- friendly measures willpromote everyone’s health and well-being.They will benefit people with Alzheimer’s disease and also the growing number of informal carers in charge of older dependent relatives, who will be supported in their caring duties and will be able to continue to remain in paid employment for longer - with a positive impact on their financial stability and family life.

Many initiatives already exist across the European Union, which could inspire further action in other EU Member States. For example, dementia-friendly housing adaptations such as bright open spaces, calming colours and a relaxing atmosphere impact positively on everyone and create living spaces that are better adapted to the needs of all age groups (universal design).

This is why, in the framework of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, AGE Platform Europe and Alzheimer Europe join forces to call for the launch of a European Covenant of local and regional authorities on demographic change, whose objective will be to promote age and Alzheimer-friendly environments across the European Union.

Some further examples of good practices across the EU that support age- and Alzheimer-friendly environments:

-          AAL programme using ICT to improve or sustain the cognitive functions of people with Alzheimer’s disease by developing, integrating and testing new technologies in homecare and residential settings;

-          ALLADIN project to develop an integrated solution for theself-management of people with dementia through innovative tools;

-          Dementia residential community project in Germany integrating housing, care and everyday services to support independent living of older people in need of assistance.

 

Links:

World Alzheimer’s Day on EY2012 website

EU Joint Programming Initiative on Alzheimer and other neurodegenerative diseases

AGE position paper on dementias (November 2010)

AGE call for an age-friendly EU

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