United States Lags in Alzheimer’s Support

This month, the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging released a report examining how five nations — the United States, Australia, France, Japan and Britain — are responding to growing numbers of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Every country has a strategy, but some are much further ahead than others. Notably, France began addressing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in 2001 and is in the midst of carrying out its third national plan. (Scroll down at this link to find the English version of the 2008-2012 French plan.)

By contrast, the United States released its first national plan to address Alzheimer’s in May.

The Senate report highlights several trends under way in all five countries, including efforts to coordinate research more effectively, diagnose Alzheimer’s disease more reliably and improve training in dementia care by medical practitioners.

Most relevant to readers of this blog is another trend with increasing international scope: an accelerating effort to keep patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia at home and arrange for care and treatment there, rather than in institutions.

Anyone who’s followed reader response to Jane Brody’s column this week on aging in place knows the burden that this can place on families, especially if government support for home-based services (companions or home health aides who help with bathing, dressing, toileting and other tasks), adult day care or respite care is scarce or nonexistent, as is the case for most middle-class families in the United States.

Continue reading HERE.

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