Alzheimer’s Disease

The world report on the spread of Alzheimer’s disease from 2013 implies that the traditional system of informal care provided by family, friends and community is going to cease to be sustainable due to aging world population.

The report points out that in the following four decades the number of the dependent elderly people will triple – from 101 million in 2010 to 277 million in 2050. In the Czech Republic there are 140.000 people with the dementia syndrome to which we must add roughly another 160.000 people with mild cognitive disorder, a specific risk condition which is common particularly with elderly people. The care of those people is insufficient.

In our country there are very few facilities that would provide quality care to these patients because it does not “pay off” with the current setting of social service funding. Without any support from the towns in which the facilities are placed it is practically impossible to operate them.

,,The mission of the Drab foundation is the mitigation of unpleasant effects of Alzheimer’s disease for the patients themselves and also for their loved ones.“

It has been implied by the 2013 world report on the spread of Alzheimer’s disease that with the aging world population the traditional system of informal care provided by family, friends and community will cease to be sustainable. The report points out that in the following four decades the number of the dependent elderly people will nearly triple – from 101 million in 2010 to 277 million in 2050. A horrifying number. Almost half of the elderly dependent people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. This is quickly becoming a worldwide health problem. The report concluded that more support is required in order to be able to reduce the burden for the individuals and also the whole society.

Professor Martin Prince, the main author of the report, adds:” People with dementia need special care. In comparison to other long-term ill clients, they need more personal nurture, more hours of care and more supervision. That is all directly related to greater healthcare burden and higher costs. They require care at the onset of the disease and as it develops the need of care constantly increases and requires advanced planning, monitoring and coordination. That is the reason why dementia must become a priority of public healthcare so that the people afflicted by it can live well.”

Alzheimer’s disease was also one of the topics discussed at the G8 summit in London in December 2013. The topic was submitted by David Cameron who engages himself extensively in this issue. The developed countries have their plans for mitigating the effects of this disease. These plans are supported personally for instance by Nicolas Sarkozy, Barack Obama and other eminent politicians. In the Czech Republic the politicians continue to overlook this problem and if they do perceive it, then it is usually only on local level.

,,When we wrote that Autism is one of the pay-backs of the world development, the same can be said about the Alzheimer’s disease.“

Nonetheless there are currently 140,000 people living with the dementia syndrome (30% of which are in the phase of mild dementia, 30% in the phase of severe dementia and 40% in the phase of moderately-developed dementia). Each of them is provided care, help and support by 2-3 family caregivers (in total approximately 350,000 people). To this we need to add roughly another 160,000 people with mild cognitive disorder, a specific risk condition which is common particularly with elderly people.

What do the people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and their loved ones need?

They especially need timely diagnosis – currently there are not enough professional centers to which they could turn to. Furthermore, they need help and support – there are not enough specialized or trained psychologists or other professionals who could give them advice or provide the necessary support. Some of the patients require nonstop supervision. The families who often provide such care become gradually exhausted by such demanding care. Qualified services can provide daily care centers – something like “nurseries” for adults. People with dementia come here on weekdays, participate in programs catered for them, while at the same time the families can rest and acquire necessary information and support regarding the further care. In the Czech Republic there are very few of such facilities, because they do not “pay off” due to the current setting of social service funding and without any support from the given town it is practically impossible to operate them. There are also Alzheimer Cafés that serve as meeting places for families, patients, professionals and volunteers. They fulfill some functions of care facilities on a less formal but many times more accessible level. One of the prerequisites for such facilities is informal and volunteer help – in this country practically non-existent.

Finally, with more serious cases an institutional care is necessary. However, medical institutions for the long-term ill or gerontopsychiatric units in psychiatric hospitals unfortunately resemble too much the impersonal hospital environment. The treatment offered by the department of healthcare is often unaffordable for the families. As healthcare for these patients becomes more insufficient, it is in turn increasingly more difficult to ensure it. Despite the fact that the condition of the people in these facilities is increasingly serious, the number of nurses is declining. The pain is not sufficiently treated along with other agonizing symptoms.

The mission of the Drab foundation is the mitigation of unpleasant consequences of Alzheimer’s disease for the patients themselves and also for their loved ones. If a quality care is not available to the ill, these people end up prematurely – and often unnecessarily – in institutes with all the unpleasant consequences. Our foundation will be developing its activity especially in this direction.

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