Alzheimer’s Disease International or ADI is a collective of global Alzheimer’s associations. They are a non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating awareness for people living with Alzheimer’s dementia and their families. ADI works with 79 existing Alzheimer’s associations throughout the world and aims to create new Alzheimer associations in countries that have no organizations. ADI’s primary goals are as follows:
- Foster changes in policy making regarding the causes and treatments of dementia
- Support the need for research regarding the origins, and development of Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Advocate for those suffering from dementia, and their families at renown global institutions like the WHO and the UN
ADI publishes an annual report focusing on a significant topic pertaining to Alzheimer’s and/ or dementia. In 2013, they published a study analyzing care for people suffering from dementia. Although the report is almost a decade old, the key facts and research findings are even more relevant today as the number of people with dementia continues to soar.
The goal of this article is to summarize the key findings from the report, as well as creating a nuanced framework for support by caregivers.
- An Aging Population
- Global population is aging collectively. 12 years ago, the number of people who required care beyond their family and social circle was 101 million globally and is projected to triple to ~277 million by 2050.
- Today, dementia and Alzheimer’s are the most common causes for chronic disease among those aged 60+ years.
- As of 2022, over 65 million people worldwide live with dementia with upwards of 10 million new cases annually.
- Dependence or care is defined by ADI as the need for help beyond that required by a healthy adult and beyond that expected by familial or social ties.
- Dependence or care typically comes in the form of assisted living facilities and live-in home care.
- The number of individuals impacted by dementia reflects an urgent need to create awareness for policymakers. These numbers play a significant role in affecting long-term healthcare strategies and goals throughout the world.
- Long-term Care System
- Dementia care is complex and multi-faceted. There are many different functions and roles to be covered by family members, caregivers, and sometimes the patient themselves.
- Family is the key means of support for people with dementia. From recognizing early onset of symptoms, to overseeing the plan for their care, and advocating for their needs – family plays an important role in the decisions regarding care.
- Dementia care has 2 primary avenues of care – in-home care, and assisted living facilities. Factors like disease progression, cost, and personal preference all play a role in deciding which type of care suits the individual best.
- In high-income countries, the costs pertaining to assisted living facilities is much higher than opting for in-home care. As a result, reducing admissions to assisted living facilities is a priority to help curb expenses.
- Quality of care for individuals with dementia and their caregivers should be measured by the standard that “living well with dementia” is feasible (ADI, 2013).
- People with dementia should be supported in utilizing their autonomy and aging with dignity as they choose the type of care they would like, when, and how.
- Resources and support groups for patients with dementia and their families should be accessible, equitable and available. One example was a case worker assigned to 60 or so individuals with dementia.
- Create training and educational opportunities for caregivers so that demands of the growing population with dementia can be supported by experienced caregivers.
ADI’s research and recommendations were relevant in 2013 when the report was published and hold equally true today. The global population continues to age out, and the number of individuals living with dementia continues to grow at a rapid pace. The need for global awareness and evolving policies at the national level is essential, however, until governments and policy makers catch up, experienced and tenured businesses like Care Mountain can help fill those gaps.
Care Mountain’s philosophy to provide their clients with flexible, affordable, and personalized care options for both hourly and live-in home care, is a natural extension of ADI’s recommendation that dependent care be accessible to all those who need it. Another key similarity is the focus on agency and autonomy. Care Mountain prioritizes their clients and patients need to choose their personal level of care and how to navigate that journey.
At Care Mountain, the administrative team diligently works to place each caregiver on a team with like-minded and similarly skilled individuals. This operations function is integral to providing quality live-in care and critical to a smooth functioning model. Every client is matched with expert and personalized caregivers who are experienced in their specific field and work together effectively. It’s a key step in ensuring that both patients and caregivers are supported. Small details like matching personalities and schedules is essential in minimizing caregiver burnout and fatigue.
ADI’s annual report serves as a reminder that Alzheimer’s and dementia are complex and nuanced conditions that require thoughtful policies and systems of care. Until these systems of support are established, organizations like Care Mountain can help mitigate the challenges of navigating care for your loved one.