World Alzheimer's Day Message
Current figures estimate there are 50 million people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias today. This number is projected to be upwards of 150 million by 2050 with close to 70% in low/ middle income countries. We’ve long known there is not only a shortage of older adult mental healthcare specialists, there is also a great need for training. A recently released US report by the Alzheimer’s Association found:
- 55% of primary care physicians (PHP) surveyed said there are not enough dementia specialists in their area to meet patient demand
- 32% stated they refer patients to specialists at least once per month
- 22% reported they had no residency training in dementia diagnosis and care
- 27% of PHP respondents said they are “never” or only “sometimes comfortable” answering patient questions about Alzheimer’s or other dementias
- 39% shared they are “never” or only “sometimes comfortable” making an Alzheimer’s or other dementia diagnosis
Not only does this shortage of dementia care specialists need to be addressed, we must also not lose focus on the need for training and education. Our older adult community deserves better.
In May of 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted the Global Plan of Action on the Public Health Response to Dementia 2017-2025. Three years in, many feel it is not moving fast enough and lacks necessary support to reach the stated targets by 2025.
This 21 September, the International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA) joins Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and national Alzheimer’s organizations around the world in raising awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia. Please do your part to spread the word about this matter of vital importance.
Launched by ADI in 2012, World Alzheimer’s Month is held every September to “raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia.” 21 September is recognized as World Alzheimer’s Day.
You can read more of the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2020 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report here: https://www.alz.org/news/2020/primary-care-physicians-on-the-front-lines-of-diag
William Reichman, MD