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Alzheimer Europe members call for a European dementia strategy

Monday 20 October 2014

Alzheimer Europe (AE) is glad to announce the adoption of the Glasgow Declaration during its Annual General Meeting on 20 October 2014. The declaration was adopted unanimously by delegates from 26 AE member organisations. Following the meeting, the declaration was signed by Heike von Lützau-Hohlbein, Chair of Alzheimer Europe and Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland. They were followed by Alex Neil, Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, who became the first European Minister to sign the declaration.

In broad terms, the Glasgow Declaration calls for the creation of a European Dementia Strategy and national strategies in every country in Europe. The signatories also call upon world leaders to recognise dementia as a public health priority and to develop a global action plan on dementia.

Jean Georges, Executive Director of Alzheimer Europe, said: “In Europe, there are many good examples of collaborative initiatives on dementia. The time has come now to bring these initiatives together under a comprehensive European strategy. The new Commission President should appoint a Commission official to coordinate all ongoing EU initiatives and link them with global developments by the G7, G20 or the World Health Organisation.”

The full text of the declaration can be seen below.

Glasgow Declaration

Alzheimer Europe, its member organisations and the undersigned associations and individuals commit ourselves fully to promoting the rights, dignity and autonomy of people living with dementia. These rights are universal, and guaranteed in the European Convention of Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

We affirm that every person living with dementia has:
• The right to a timely diagnosis;
• The right to access quality post diagnostic support;
• The right to person centred, coordinated, quality care throughout their illness;
• The right to equitable access to treatments and therapeutic interventions;
• The right to be respected as an individual in their community.

We welcome the growing recognition of dementia as a public health priority on a national and European level and call upon European governments and institutions to recognise the role that they have in ensuring that these rights of people living with dementia are respected and upheld. In particular, we:
• Call upon the European Commission to:

  1. Develop a European Dementia Strategy;
  2. Designate a high level EU official to coordinate the activities and research in the field of dementia of existing programmes such as Horizon 2020, the Ambient Assistant Living Programme, the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, the Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative diseases research and the Innovative Medicines Initiative;
  3. Set up a European Expert Group on Dementia comprised of Commission officials, representatives of Member States and civil society to exchange best practices;
  4. Financially support the activities of Alzheimer Europe and its European Dementia Observatory and European Dementia Ethics Network through its public health programme.

• Call upon Members of the European Parliament to:

  1. Join the European Alzheimer’s Alliance;
  2. Support the campaign of Alzheimer Europe and its member organisations to make dementia a European priority and create a European Dementia Strategy;
  3. Make themselves available for people with dementia, carers and representatives of Alzheimer associations from their country.

• Call upon national governments to:

  1. Develop comprehensive national dementia strategies with allocated funding and a clear monitoring and evaluation process;
  2. Involve people living with dementia and their carers in the development and follow up of these national strategies;
  3. Support national Alzheimer and dementia associations.

We welcome the international recognition of dementia as global priority and acknowledge the work of Alzheimer’s Disease International and the G7 group of countries in driving forward global action on dementia and call upon the international community to:

  1. Build on the success of European collaboration on dementia and involve European initiatives in the development of a global action plan on dementia,
  2. Include and consult Alzheimer associations and people with dementia in the decision making process and definition of a global research agenda;
  3. Adopt a holistic approach to research priorities to include psycho-social, care, socio-economic and health systems research to ensure that research aims to benefit people living with dementia now, as well as people who will do so in years to come;
  4. Substantially increase the funding dedicated to all areas of dementia research;
  5. Promote dementia as a priority in other international bodies including among the G20 group of countries, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations.

Photo (TL-TR; BL-BR): Geoff Huggins, John Laurie, Jeanette Maitland, Henry Simmons, Heike Von Lützau-Hohlbein; Alex Neil, Henry Simmons.