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Editorial Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia
Alzheimer Europe Publication Highlights
Inequalities in Access to Dementia Care
and Treatment Across Europe
Executive Director, Alzheimer Europe
T he objective of a new report, ‘European Dementia Monitor 2017: comparing and benchmarking national dementia strategies and
policies’, is to provide a benchmark of national dementia policies in order to compare the responses of European countries to
the dementia challenge in different domains. This benchmarking of national dementia policies is intended as a tool for national
organisations to compare their situation to that of other European countries. For Alzheimer Europe as a European organisation it is key to
understand what differences exist, why they exist and how to find better solutions.
Keywords Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, inequalities
Disclosure: Jean Georges is Executive Director of
Alzheimer Europe. This article is a short opinion
piece and has not been submitted to external
peer reviewers. A member of the Editorial Board
reviewed the article before publication.
Authorship: All named authors meet the International
Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) criteria
for authorship for this manuscript, take responsibility
for the integrity of the work as a whole and have
given final approval for the version to be published.
Open Access: This article is published under the
Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License,
which permits any non-commercial use, distribution,
adaptation, and reproduction provided the original
author(s) and source are given appropriate credit.
Received: 18 September 2017
Published Online: 4 December 2017
Citation: European Neurological
Corresponding Author: Jean Georges,
14, Rue Dicks, L-1417 Luxembourg.
Support: No funding was received in the publication
of this article.
I am delighted to introduce a new report from Alzheimer Europe highlighting the existing
inequalities in access to dementia care and treatment across Europe. The report, ‘European
Dementia Monitor 2017: comparing and benchmarking national dementia strategies and
policies’, assesses which countries provide the most dementia-friendly policies and guarantee
the best support and treatment of people with dementia and their carers. 1
When I started working for Alzheimer Europe 20 years ago, there was little recognition that
dementia constituted a public health challenge. Thanks to, for example, the campaigning of
national Alzheimer associations and individual people with dementia and their carers, this has
now completely changed. A contributing factor to the increased quality of care in most European
countries is certainly also more research and extensive public education. Dementia is a major
cause of disability and dependency among older people worldwide, having a significant impact
not only on individuals but also carers, families, communities and societies.
Dementia is known to be more prevalent in an ageing population and by 2060 28% of the
population will be aged over 65 years and 12% aged over 80 years. 2 As Europe’s population
ages, there will be an increase in age-related diseases and one of the most prevalent of
these is dementia. In 2030, it is predicted there will be 13.4 million people in Europe living
with dementia. 3 In 2008, the cost per person with dementia was about EUR 22,000 per year,
while it was somewhat lower for the wider EU sphere and for the whole of Europe. The total
societal costs per case were estimated to be eight-times more in Northern Europe than in
Eastern Europe. 4
For the reasons above, Alzheimer Europe surveyed its national associations on the current
state of care treatment research policies and law in the field of Alzheimer’s disease, in
order to identify differences between countries as well as common trends and potential
good practices and existing trends. The new report provides a benchmark of national
dementia policies which compares and rates the responses of European countries to the
dementia challenge. The survey covered all Member States of the European Union (with
the exception of Estonia), plus Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jersey, Israel, Monaco,
Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.
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