The Lancet International Commission

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A global perspective on dementia care: a Lancet Commission.

The scale of the problem

The frequency of dementia is rising as a result of increased longevity. As the population ages, a large and increasing number of people are living with dementia worldwide.  In the UK, 30% of the population will die with dementia, and people with dementia throughout the world are

more likely to die than their counterparts without dementia. Most care home residents have dementia, and residential care contributes substantially to the costs of dementia—currently US$818 billion a year worldwide.

The impact of dementia

Dementia affects not only the person with the illness, but their  family. Family members often find caring for someone with dementia stressful and are at a high risk of anxiety and depression, which can lead to breakdown of care. While the core symptoms of dementia involve cognitive deterioration, people with dementia are increasingly dependent and have impaired social function; as the disease progresses, neuropsychiatric  symptoms, such as apathy, agitation, depression, delusion, agitation, and sleep disturbance, become nearly universal. These symptoms can be at least as burdensome as the cognitive deterioration. 

The impact on the economy

In addition, there are  strong economic reasons to prioritise dementia care. People with dementia use more economic and social care resources than those with other chronic illnesses, and family carers often stop work to give the required care, with their skills being lost to the economy.

The future

Although there is no cure for dementia, there is increasing evidence about how to manage some symptoms of dementia and carer stress effectively, and growing interest in the possible role of lifestyle interventions to delay or prevent dementia.

The Lancet commission

The Lancet has partnered with leading academic and charitable institutions (University College London, Alzheimer’s Society, ESRC and Alzheimer’s Research UK) to establish a Commission on Dementia Care. The Commission is reviewing the current evidence to

generate evidence-based recommendations and a campaign to implement priority actions for the provision of effective and equitable dementia care, tol help prevent dementia and decrease symptoms and burden for people with dementia and

their families so that they can live well.

The commissioners

The Commissioners for the Lancet Commission on Dementia Care are Gill Livingston –chair, Helen Frankish- Lancet editor,  Sabine Kleinert - Lancet editor

David Ames, Clive Ballard, Sube Banerjee, Alistair Burns, Jiska Cohen-Mansfield, Claudia Cooper, Nick Fox, Laura Gitlin, Rob Howard, Jonathan Huntley, Helen Kales, Eric Larson, Naaheed Mukadam, Vasiliki Orgeto, Karen Ritchie, Ken Rockwood, Liz Sampson, Quincy Samus, Lon Schneider, Geir Selback, Andrew Sommerlad, and Linda Teri.

Lancet Commission - A global perspective on dementia care