Danish government increasing efforts to assist dementia sufferers
The Danish government is releasing a new action plan aimed at helping people suffering from dementia to “live a dignified and secure life in Denmark”.
“Dementia is a terrible disease that not only affects the person who is ill, but the whole family,” said the health minister, Sophie Løhde.
“With the dementia action plan, we want to create a ‘dementia-friendly’ society in which both people with dementia and their families can live a safe and dignified life.”
Løhde said that dementia has been “forgotten and marginalised” for too long.
The government’s plan establishes three national strategy initiatives to assist dementia sufferers and their families.
One goal is for all of Denmark’s 98 municipalities to get more involved in care and treatment efforts for people with dementia and establish “dementia-friendly” homes.
Another is to make sure that more people suffering from dementia receive a proper diagnosis. Currently over 35,000 people over 65 in Denmark have a dementia-related diagnosis, but the actual number of Danes with dementia is probably much higher and expected to increase in the coming years as the population ages.
There is currently no cure for dementia, but an early diagnosis can help lessen the severity of the symptoms.
The third objective of the government’s dementia action plan is to reduce the consumption of antipsychotic medications among people with dementia by 50 percent by 2025. Right now, the use of antipsychotic medication in Denmark is high when compared to other countries, despite professional recommendations to the contrary.
Help for families
The plan also looks to assist the families and caregivers of dementia patients.
“The government has a very high priority to help and offer relief to the relatives,” said Løhde. “They need breathing space and it shouldn’t feel like a lottery whether you get enough help or not.”
Other initiatives from the dementia action plan include dementia-suitable housing, dementia-friendly hospitals and a national research strategy. The government has allocated 470 million kroner over the period 2016-2019 to fund the initiatives in the plan.