Twice the number of dementia disorders expected

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Dementia report: Doubling of dementia patients expected in 30 years: Structural change is particularly affecting eastern German regions. The social association VdK demands more help for people with dementia

According to the Berlin Institute for Population and Development, the number of dementia patients is expected to double by 2050. Already now, dementia is developing into a so-called common illness, which can affect everyone in old age. The social association VdK calls for comprehensive reforms in view of the new figures.

Doubling of dementia cases
In the next 30 years, the number of dementia patients could have doubled. This is reported by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development. The institute refers to the steadily growing number of patients over the past decades. Demographic change and better medical care mean that people in the western industrialized countries, in particular, will suffer from old-age diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's. According to the last dementia report 2010, around 1.3 million people in Germany suffer from dementia. About two thirds of those affected have Alzheimer's. From a purely statistical perspective, there is currently a nationwide disease rate of 1300 people per 100,000 inhabitants. The situation in the new federal states could develop particularly dramatically. Reiner Klingholz said that the highest levels of dementia in Germany are expected in Germany. By 2025, 3,660 people out of 100,000 inhabitants in Hoyerswerda (Saxony), for example, may be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's. Data of similar concern are also available for the cities and regions of Görlitz and Dessau. In addition to Saxony, numerous districts in Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia are seriously affected by the development. This mainly affects regions in which only a few young people live compared to the nationwide age structure. The emigration of young people is particularly noticeable in eastern Germany, whereupon the average age increases.

Dementia becomes the normal side effect of old age According to the authors, dementia becomes a "normal side effect of old age". The development of demographic change in our society can no longer be reversed. Therefore, the researchers have already undertaken evaluations of the age structures in different regions so that politicians can take countermeasures in good time. However, health policy has not yet fully recognized the extent, as the study authors criticize. The position is still commonly held that society would be the same in 2025 as it is today. Only people are getting older. But according to the scientists, this is a fatal misjudgment. In particular, the financially weak regions can expect to provide more funds for the care of old-age diseases in the future than is the case today. In addition, income will decrease significantly because more and more people will be retired.

Alzheimer's, an incurable disease According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 35 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer's dementia. In the case of the incurable disease, there are specific protein deposits in the human brain. Thereby important stimulus transmissions between the brain cells are disturbed. As a result, the brain cells die and the patient's memory is completely eliminated. The loss of the patient's personality is experienced as particularly stressful in the patient's environment. People are increasingly losing their temporal and spatial orientation. As this makes Alzheimer's patients helpless and inactive, they need intensive care around the clock. About two thirds of those affected are cared for by family members at home. Nursing means an enormous burden for the relatives, in this context patient associations repeatedly criticize inadequate political support.

According to the Cologne neurologist Prof. Gereon Fink, around 115 million people worldwide will suffer from dementia by 2050. Fink called for an expansion of treatment options for people with dementia. In addition, doctors need better training so that a timely diagnosis can take place. The earlier the disease is recognized, the greater the patient's chances of remaining suitable for everyday use for a longer period of time. And that in turn relieves the health and care system.

Social association calls for more financial help for dementia patients
In view of the dramatic numbers, the social association VDK called for people with dementia to be included more in nursing care insurance. "Home care is a good example of solidarity between generations," said Ulrike Mascher, President of the VdK Germany Social Association, today on the sidelines of a social policy forum organized by the VdK Bavaria Social Association at the Evangelische Akademie Tutzing on the topic of "intergenerational justice". Older people in particular often take care of their family members in need of care. The VDK chairman referred to the large number of 4 million caring relatives who "ensure today that our care system does not collapse in parts". However, the financial security of this form of family work is absolutely inadequate. There should be more financial recognition, especially for the care of people with dementia: "We want that there are also adequate benefits from long-term care insurance for people with dementia. That is why the new concept of long-term care, which has been available to the Federal Government since the beginning of 2009, must finally be implemented. " So far, the payment of care allowance has been linked to the existence of a care level, which is, however, only granted if there are physical limitations. Comprehensive reforms are needed to provide care for people with dementia.

In order to ensure good care for dementia patients, nursing needs more financial help. "Today, the contribution in statutory long-term care insurance is 1.95 percent. I think a moderate increase in contributions with equal participation by employers is manageable if the necessary improvements in performance are reliably funded in solidarity for a longer period of time. I advocate more honesty and less tactics in this debate. " (sb)

Read about Alzheimer's & Dementia:
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