The impacts and large costs of dementia are a major challenge and one that is growing fast, all over the world. There are many things that can be done to address this challenge.
It is very good that there is increasing awareness of this challenge at political level all over the world, as shown by the adoption of the Global Action Plan on dementia by the World Health Assembly in 2017. In most countries, even those who have been most vocal in the international arena, the actual policy responses have been quite modest, mostly focused on increasing funding to find a disease modifying treatment, encouraging risk reduction and working to reduce stigma and increase awareness.
Very few countries have tackled head on the bigger and most immediate challenge: how to ensure that we have long-term care systems that are able to support people living with dementia with good quality care, and to ensure that the costs of care are shared among the population, so that families affected by dementia do not have to bear the full cost of it and do not risk excessive burdens (or even risk impoverishment) as a result.
I was delighted to be invited to contribute to a thoughtful BBC World Service radio documentary exploring precisely the issue of funding care for people with dementia. It highlights good examples of decisive responses to dementia from South Korea, the Netherlands and Nigeria. You can listen to the podcast here: