Jan Andersson (Sweden)
MEPs speak out on dementia
Jan Andersson (Sweden) contributes to the second Dementia in Europe Yearbook which presented comparative information on the social support systems for people with dementia and their carers in Europe (December 2007)
Jan Andersson: As the Chairperson of the European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, I am therefore pleased to welcome this second edition of the “Dementia in Europea Yearbook” by Alzheimer Europe. The organisation is right in calling attention to the social impact of a disease like Alzheimer’s disease, but equally of other forms of dementia which affect over 6.1 million citizens in the European Union.
In the absence of a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, it is clear that patients as well as their carers do not only need medical attention, but also social support. I am therefore delighted that the European Commission provided funding for the “EuroCoDe – European Collaboration on Dementia” project of Alzheimer Europe and that one of the six work packages of the project looked into the social support provided by national governments in the Member States.
It is clear from the findings that social support of people with dementia and their carers varies considerably from one country to another. While some countries may have a wide range of services available to most patients, in others there is a scarcity of adequate and/or affordable support services, such as home help, day care, respite care and of course also residential care.
The same is true as regards the support provided by governments, be it as care allowances or other entitlements such as tax refunds or direct payments to pay for services, for employing a person to provide home care services or for necessary home adaptations and this Alzheimer Europe publication reveals striking differences between countries.
I hope that this publication will enable European and national politicians to identify good practices in the social support provided to people with dementia and their carers. In my opinion, it is clear that one model can never be used throughout Europe, but we can all learn from experiences and examples in other countries.
With the ageing of all European populations, we will be facing more cases every year and it is estimated that the number of people with dementia will double in Western Europe and treble in Eastern Europe. The dementia epidemic will pose serious challenges to the health and social budgets in all Member States.
This publication highlights some of the solutions provided by Member States to alleviate the burden on families and I am looking forward to the discussions and new ideas this report will generate.
I am happy to give my wholehearted support to this initiative aimed at improving the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers. We owe it to the 6.1. million citizens directly affected by this disease, as well as their families.
Last Updated: Tuesday 29 October 2013