BLOG – Cure and Care
The global war against dementia has stepped up a notch following the G8 dementia summit in London on December 11th 2013. World leaders declared the ambition for a cure or disease modifying therapy to have been developed by the year 2025. That suggests the battleground will need to be the laboratory, but that’s only part of the story.
Dementia can also be defeated across the planet in family homes, in hospital wards, care homes, day centres and nursing homes. Its power can be broken when we enable people with dementia to experience dignity and respect, when they are enabled and supported to play valued roles in families and communities. A person living with dementia may be living day-to-day, moment-to-moment, but those days and moments can be life enhancing, fulfilling, pleasurable and satisfying. The stigma that attaches itself to dementia magnifies the effects of the condition, and we can and must work to defeat it long before 2025. The communique from the summit (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/g8-dementia-summit-agreements) recognises the importance of research and innovation in relation to prevention and care as well as to cure, and it is here that the psychosocial research network INTERDEM must step up to the mark. Already it is leading three major projects funded under the European Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND), seeking to improve care systems and implement best practice across Europe. It was exciting to see at the Summit the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, announcing a number of new psychosocial projects to run in the UK over the next five years, including three led by INTERDEM members, Martin Orrell, Linda Clare and John Keady, with a total value of over £12 million. The big challenge for psychosocial researchers globally now is how to really make a difference to the lives of people with dementia and their supporters, to champion evidence-based innovation and to implement what is already known across countries and care systems.
December 16th 2013