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Sweden 'lacks national dementia plan'

Published onsdag 3 augusti 2016 kl 15.33
Husband of dementia sufferer: many difficult years
(2:28 min)
An older patient being helped with a puzzle.
The number of Swedes with dementia is expected to double by 2050. Photo: Jim Fitzgerald/AP

Sweden lacks a national plan to tackle dementia and is lagging behind its Nordic neighbours, according to a new report from the Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues.

The report’s lead author, Lars Rottem Krangnes, thinks Sweden has a lot to learn from its fellow Nordic countries.

He said their national action plans had allowed them to “coordinate national and local efforts and get more resources for dementia care and research into dementia”.

With an ageing population, dementia is a growing health concern in the West. Sweden currently has an estimated 160,000 people living with dementia and that number is expected to almost double by 2050.

Ingemar Karlsson, who belongs to the National Association for the Rights of the Dementia, says that he was not told until many years into caring for his wife, who has dementia, that there was help available. 

"When she first got diagnosed, they should take care of me too, and told me that you have many difficult years ahead of you, and that you're going to need help, and there is help to get," Karlsson told Radio Sweden.

The lack of a national action plan means that there are big differences among how municipalities deal with the problem of dementia, the report indicated.

In some areas, family members are able to get support to help look after their loved ones, whereas it isn’t available in others.

Nordic countries who have action plans have been able to expand the day care opportunities for dementia patients and help family members who are looking after them.

Minister for the Elderly, Åsa Regner, said she has asked the National Board of Health and Welfare to start drawing up a plan for municipalities to work in a more uniform way on the issue.

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