Euro warning over dementia neglect

The European Commission has been criticised for producing a green paper on mental health that “barely mentions” dementia, despite the growing numbers of people being diagnosed with European Social Network the condition.

Noreen Siba, director of the International Longevity Centre, told the European social services conference in Vienna this week that dementia was often forgotten by policy-makers.

“It is often considered a separate issue from mental health but the challenges are the same. If it is excluded from mental health policy, then where will it be addressed?” she said.

Governments were not aware of or fully prepared to deal with the increase in the numbers of people diagnosed with dementia or the issues affecting their carers because the condition was not yet on “society’s radar”, she said.

Jean Georges, director of charity Alzheimer Europe, said European governments were failing to provide adequate services for 500,000 people aged under 65 in Europe diagnosed with dementia.

The huge numbers of people with early onset dementia, including Alzheimer’s, presented a “significant problem”, said Georges.

UK carer Barbara Pointon, whose husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 51, criticised agencies for failing to provide a single care co-ordinator with specialised nursing knowledge.

Instead she had been left with one person who would “trigger action from health” and another who would do the same for social care.

She also said that in eight months she had received help from 14 agency care workers, none of whom had had specialist training in dementia.

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