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Policy issues

2020: European Dementia Monitor, Comparing and benchmarking national dementia strategies and policies

4 Policy issues

4.1 Recognition of dementia as a priority

4.1.1 What did we look at and why?

A number of countries have already published dementia strategies, whilst some are in the process of developing such documents. However, dementia is not yet a priority in all European countries.  As well as looking at strategies already in place, we wanted to look further at the public recognition of dementia at a national level.

National Alzheimer’s associations are vital to increasing awareness of the growing public health challenge of dementia, so we also looked at how national Alzheimer’s associations are funded and whether they receive specific government funding for their core activities and/or specific projects.

As part of our survey, we asked national organisations the following questions:

  1. Is dementia recognised as a research priority in your country?
  2. Does your country have a national Alzheimer’s/dementia strategy or is a national strategy in development?
  3. Does the dementia strategy have specific allocated funding for the implementation of its activities?
  4. Is there a government-appointed organisation or person in charge of the overall coordination of dementia policies?
  5. Does the national Alzheimer’s association receive funding from government programmes for its core activities or central office?
  6. Does the national Alzheimer’s association receive funding from government programmes for projects or specific services?
  7. Has the country attended a meeting of the European Group of Governmental Experts on Dementia?

Question 7 was added to this edition of the Dementia Monitor, following the establishment of the Expert Group in December 2018, to bring together dementia policy leads from countries across Europe.

4.1.2 Results

The detailed answers can be found intable 7, with the total numbers of each countries with each policy outlined infigure 9.

It is encouraging to see that the number of countries with an existing dementia strategy or one in development continues to increase and currently, there are 27 countries (with Flanders having its own strategy, and separate strategies for England and Scotland in the United Kingdom), compared with 21 countries in the 2017 Dementia Monitor. However, fewer than 50% of countries report that funding had been put in place to implement the strategies or had a dedicated body or person within the government to lead the government’s response.

Another positive trend was the slight increase in the number of countries where dementia is considered as a research priority, increasing to 15 countries, from 11 in 2017.

A number of mostly Eastern European countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Latvia and Romania) did not score any points.

4.1.3 How did we score countries?

Countries could score a maximum of 7 points and were scored 1 point for each yes answer. Based on the results, it is possible to rank European countries as indicated in figure 10, which shows the points expressed as percentages of the maximum possible score.

4.2 Inclusiveness and dementia-friendly initiatives

4.2.1 What did we look at and why?

“Dementia-friendly communities” is a term used to describe a wide range of activities, projects and initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life for people with dementia. In the absence of a cure, and with the increasing ageing demographic and the rising number of people with dementia it is important to see how communities are supporting people with dementia to enable them to live well. The dementia-friendly community approach aims at changing the attitudes towards and the perception of people living with dementia, as well as reducing the stigma surrounding dementia.

Dementia Friends programmes are run in a number of European countries to raise awareness of dementia in society and encourage people to take action in support of people with dementia. Some national organisations also set up working groups of people with dementia which work alongside national associations to ensure that the activities, policies and projects duly reflect the priorities, views and needs of people with dementia. Some organisations have also done so for informal caregivers of people with dementia. Alzheimer Europe asked member organisations in how far dementia friendly initiatives have been developed in their country.

4.2.2 Results

The detailed answers regarding inclusiveness can be found in table 8.

Wide differences exist across Europe, with only a single country (Belgium - Wallonia) reporting as having working groups for people with dementia and carers, a dementia friends programme and fully developed dementia-friendly communities.

In nine European countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia), none of these initiatives have been started. This compares to 14 countries which did not report any of these initiatives in the 2017 Dementia Monitor. Whilst this number is still high, it represents a positive trend that more countries are beginning to develop dementia-inclusive activities.

 

4.2.3 How did we score countries?

Countries could score a maximum of 5 points. Countries with a national working group of people with dementia or a Dementia Friends programme scored 1 point for each. In this edition of the Dementia Monitor, we also considered the involvement of carers as vital to a dementia-inclusive society. Therefore, we scored countries on whether they had a national working group of informal carers (1 point).

Countries with fully-developed dementia-friendly communities were scored 2 points, and countries with dementia-friendly communities in development were scored 1 point. Based on the results, it is possible to rank European countries as indicated in figure 11, which shows the points expressed as percentages of the maximum possible score.

 

 
 

Last Updated: Tuesday 30 March 2021

 

 
 

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