All posts by Jean Georges

Jean Georges

About Jean Georges

Jean Georges is the Executive Director of Alzheimer Europe (AE). Before joining the organisation in 1996, he worked as a journalist and as a parliamentary assistant to members of the Luxembourg and European Parliament. In 2006, he was appointed as one of the two patient representatives on the Management Board of the European Medicines Agency for two terms and he was also a member of the Board of the European Patients' Forum during its formative years

New Alzheimer Europe Survey Highlights Inequalities in Access to Dementia Care and Treatment across Europe

Not everybody is equal when it comes to dementia care and treatment. This is the telling result of the recent Alzheimer Europe’s report entitled the “European Dementia Monitor”, which assessed countries for their dementia policies and the support and treatment they provide to people with dementia and their carers.

Providing a benchmark of national dementia policies, the survey scanned countries for their practices in different categories:

  1. The availability of care services
  2. The affordability of care services
  3. The reimbursement of medicines
  4. The availability of clinical trials
  5. The involvement of the country in European dementia research initiatives
  6. The recognition of dementia as a priority
  7. The development of dementia-friendly initiatives
  8. The recognition of legal rights
  9. The ratification of International and European human rights treaties
  10. Care and employment rights

According to the findings of the European Dementia Monitor, no country excelled in all ten categories surveyed.

Key findings:

  • Finland scored highest on care availability and affordability providing the most care services and ensuring accessible and affordable services for people with dementia and their carers.
  • Belgium, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom (both England and Scotland) came first- all anti-dementia treatments were fully reimbursed and countries had a policy in place to limit the inappropriate use of antipsychotics.
  • Germany, France and Spain scored highest as it was possible for people with dementia to take part in all nine phase III clinical trials currently being conducted in Europe.
  • Italy was the most committed to and active in European dementia research
  • Ireland and Norway came first in the recognition of dementia as a national policy and research priority.
  • Finland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (England) had the most inclusive and dementia-friendly initiatives and communities.
  • Germany, France, Israel, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the United Kingdom (England and Scotland) complied with Alzheimer Europe’s four recommendations with regard to respecting the legal rights of people with dementia and their carers.
  • Finland and Norway had ratified the most International and European human rights
  • Ireland came first with regard to the care and employment rights which are recognised.

There were significant differences between European countries especially from East to west with most of the Western and Northern European countries scoring significantly higher than Eastern European countries.

Echoing the priorities of our #Access2030 campaign, Alzheimer Europe’s report brings more evidence that equal access and affordability of care is far from a reality for many European patients.

More about the report can be read here.

“Dementia is not a natural part of growing old”

Dementia is a syndrome, typically involving loss of memory, mood changes and problems with thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language and judgement.

These symptoms occur when the brain is damaged as a result of one or more diseases or conditions, the most common one being Alzheimer’s disease. It is usually a progressive or chronic condition, which is not a natural part of growing old.

The way in which people experience dementia depends on numerous internal and external factors, including the support and treatment that is available to them. However, people with dementia are increasingly emphasising that despite the challenges it brings, it is possible to live well with dementia.

It is clear that no single country can overcome dementia’s financial and socio-economic impact; this will only be possible through a collective effort. In Europe, there are already many good examples of collaborative initiatives on dementia. The time has come now to bring these initiatives together under a comprehensive European strategy which is what we call for in our Declaration.

A public health priority

Dementia should be a public health priority for many reasons, including:

  • Public health impact: there are currently 8.7 million people with dementia in the European Union and this number is expected to at least double by 2040.
  • Socio-economic impact: the total cost of dementia disorders in the EU in 2008 was estimated to be EUR 160 billion, of which 56% were costs of informal care.
  • Impact on carers: a survey by Alzheimer Europe found that the time spent on caring increases with disease severity: in the early stages, 20% of carers already reported that they spend more than ten hours per day caring for the person with dementia. This increases to 50% of carers of people with dementia in the late stages of the disease.

We will continue our campaign until 30 November, after which we will present the results at the European Parliament. Sign the #GlasgowDeclaration today and help make real change happen for people living with dementia!