Age- and dementia- friendly environments as investment for a sustainable EU

PRESS RELEASE                                                                            
Brussels, 20 September 2012

 

World Alzheimer’s Day, 21 September 2012

 Age- and dementia- friendly environments as investment for a sustainable EU

 

“Investment in age-and dementia-friendly environments is greatly needed to support the active participation of our ageing populations in society and respond to Europe’s demographic challenge in a sustainable way,” points out Anne-Sophie Parent, AGE Secretary-General, on the occasion of World Alzheimer’s Day on 21 September 2012, adding that “In creating those environments, we reduce the demand on health and long term care and create healthy environments which benefit everyone, while having a positive financial impact both on public and private expenses.”

 

With the number of people with dementia increasing with the ageing of the population and expected to reach 15 million by 2050, creating environments that empower older people and people with dementia to lead independent lives and take an active part in society for longer must become a priority for EU decision-makers.

This requires a holistic approach to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, which goes beyond medical treatment, and better coordination between all relevant stakeholders, in order to improve the quality of life and dignity of patients and their families. It is essential to create an environment that favours the inclusion of people with dementia and their relatives in their communities e.g. by tackling the stigma attached to these diseases, favouring as much as possible community-based care, by supporting families and carers, adapting staff training and housing equipment and design, training bus drivers, salespersons, the police and other members of the public on how to deal with a person with Alzheimer’s, etc.

Age- and dementia- friendly measures will promote everyone’s health and well-being. They will benefit people with Alzheimer’s disease and also the growing number of informal carers in charge of older dependent relatives, who will be supported in their caring duties and will be able to remain in paid employment for longer - with a positive impact on their financial stability and family life.

Many initiatives already exist across the European Union, which could inspire further action in other EU Member States. For example, dementia-friendly housing adaptations such as bright open spaces, calming colours and a relaxing atmosphere impact positively on everyone and create living spaces that are better adapted to the needs of all age groups (universal design).

This is why, in the framework of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, AGE Platform Europe and Alzheimer Europe join forces to call for the launch of a European Covenant of local and regional authorities on demographic change, whose objective will be to promote age and Alzheimer-friendly environments across the European Union. 

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A number of projects are being funded by the EU Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme (AAL JP) to support independent living in old age through the use of the new technologies (ICT). Among them:

  • The ALFA projects uses ICT to improve or sustain the cognitive functions of people with Alzheimer’s disease by developing, integrating and testing new technologies in homecare and residential settings;
  • The ALLADIN project seeks to develop an integrated solution for the self-management of people with dementia through innovative tools;
  • The BEDMOND project is an ICT-based system for the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative diseases on the basis of data assessment with health professional criteria;
  • The CCE dementia project supports the development of an open, standardized, integrated European platform to deliver connected ICT-based assistive living solutions for the elderly and develop and assess business models to support the mainstream provision of assistive solutions.

 

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Useful links:

 

Press release in pdf format 

Thursday 20 September 2012
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