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Dementia in the European and International context

The European and International context

The issue of dementia is focusing the attention of European and international institutions. This is also due to the progressive aging of population, that is causing a relevant demographic change affecting also public health and the sustainability of health systems.
The European Commission, the World Health Organization, and recently also the G8 specific summit held in London in December 2013, stated that dementia is a priority in the global agenda for the next years.
The Paris Conference held in October 2008 during the semester of French presidency, started the subscription of several shared programmatic documents, and a series of activities to support them.
The Conclusions of the European Council on the Public Health Strategies against neurodegenerative diseases, December 16, 2008, and on the Healthy and Dignified Ageing, November 30, 2009, and the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, July 22, 2009, are of particular interest as they underline how dementias are a priority in planning the management of an ageing Europe, and refer to a European initiative on Alzheimer’s disease, in full consideration of the rights and dignity of patients.

The core steps of this initiative are essentially stated as follows:
- Prevention and promotion of mental well-being (see also the explicit reference included in the 2008 European Pact on Mental Health and Well-being, issued by the European Commission)
- Early diagnosis
- Coordination of research in all Europe
- Dissemination of good care and support practices
- Development of a common approach to related ethical issues

The tools to turn these steps into actions have been included in two pathways.
Joint Programming Research Initiative that involves 24 European countries in research activities using a common scientific approach and sharing experiences

Joint Action ALCOVE (ALzheimer COoperative Valutation in Europe) coordinated by France, that had as its main objectives to define a shared document on the best care practices available in Europe and to promote its implementation in the member states. The strategic action was divided in 4 areas of activities (work packages), specifically:
WP 1. Generation of epidemiology and models for data collection
WP 2. Promotion of early diagnosis and management based on shared models
WP 3. Strengthening of outpatient and residential care through the assessment of available good practices in Europe
WP 4. Promotion of the rights and dignity of people with dementia

This project involved 30 partners from 19 countries, including Italy that coordinated the activities in the epidemiological area, and aimed at improving the knowledge on the disease and its consequences fostering an active debate in the quality of life, the issue of independence, and the rights of people with dementia.
The recommendations derived from the Project ALCOVE are focused on four specific areas: epidemiology, diagnosis, supports to the management of Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD), and ethical aspects (rights, independence, dignity).

During the semester of Italian presidency of the EU, the Ministry of Health on November 14, 2014 organized in Rome the Technical Conference on dementias in Europe: a challenge for our common future.
The conference represented an important opportunity for a technical and strategic debate among the EU member states on an issue that is currently focusing international attention.
More recently the main actions started by the G8 are worth noting, such as the creation of a Global action against dementia (GAAD), the election of a World Envoy and subsequent creation of a World Council, the “Declaration of Glasgow” signed during the 24° Alzheimer Europe Conference, the annual meeting of the European federation of the associations of people with dementia and their families, held in Glasgow on October 20-22, 2014, fostering the creation of a European strategy for dementias while urging each single Country to define its own national policy.

For further information:

Visit the website of the Project ALCOVE

July 22, 2009 -European Commission adopts Proposal for a Council Recommendation on measures to combat neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Alzheimer's, through joint programming of research activities and Communication on a European initiative on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias

February 6, 2009 -European Parliament adopts Written Declaration 80/2008 calling on Commission to adopt a European Action plan on dementia

December 17, 2008 -Council of Ministers calls for greater European collaboration on Alzheimer's disease and asks European Commission to develop European Alzheimer's initiative

Published 13-02-2014 in Dementia in the European and International context , last update 12-11-2015


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