16 December 2020
By Tom Collins
Cork based MEP Deirdre Clune is a Vice-Chair of the European Alzheimer’s Alliance
Dementia and Alzheimer care must be recognised as a public health priority, according to MEP Deirdre Clune. MEP Clune said measures are being considered at the EU to help to improve the care of people with dementia through early diagnosis, comprehensive treatment and support for caregivers.
Given the current health crisis, it is imperative we don’t neglect aspects of health care such as dementia diagnosis, according to MEP Clune.
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune participated in a workshop organised by Alzheimer Europe. MEP Clune is a Vice-Chair of the European Alzheimer’s Alliance.
The workshop focused on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia in Europe. At the meeting, Alzheimer Europe launched a report on past EU and Alzheimer Europe activities and their priorities for future European action.
According to the report, the number of people living with dementia in the European Union is estimated to be 7.8 million with the numbers expected to double by 2050.
MEP Clune said: “It is vital that we work together at European level to make dementia a European priority that will be heard and actioned. We must try to improve quality care and life for all Europeans affected by dementia including patients, families and carers.”
“With the coronavirus spread across European countries, various restrictions have been put in place ranging from the closure of important services such as day care or respite care to the prohibition of visits to nursing homes. This situation and some of these restrictions can have quite an adverse affect on people with dementia and their carers.
“The pandemic highlighted how important it is to work to make dementia a European priority that will be heard and actioned, to improve quality care and life for all Europeans affected by dementia including patients, families and carers. The European Parliament is committed to ensuring that Alzheimer’s is recognised by Member States as a European public health priority. A lack of awareness and knowledge about dementia is prevalent in many countries. This results in stigmatization and barriers to early diagnosis and treatment.
“Dementia can have a profound impact on individuals and their families. Our population is aging fast. According to the Alzheimer Europe report, the number of older persons has more than tripled since 1950; it will almost triple again by 2050. Dementia will become more prevalent but yet it is a disease we largely ignore and dismiss as a normal part of aging. Whilst there is no current cure, there is an established care plan that includes early diagnosis, symptom management and long term support for both patient and family.”