Sat, Sep 14, 2013 - Page 4 News List

National plan announced for dementia

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Five percent of Taiwanese aged 65 and over live with mild, moderate or severe dementia, according to the Taiwan Alzheimer’s Disease Association’s (TADA) latest survey.

At a recent seminar on early and community-based intervention for people with dementia, TADA reported that the percentage of Taiwanese with dementia, regardless of severity, is about 1 percent, and that of people aged 65 and over stands at 8.04 percent.

However, Department of Nursing and Health Services Development director Teng Su-wen (鄧素文) said that since “very mild dementia,” determined by a Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) of 0.5, can also be classified as uncertain/questionable dementia, the statistical figures would be more accurate and internationally comparable if taking only those with mild, moderate or severe dementia (CDR of 1, 2 and 3, respectively) into account.

TADA secretary-general Tang Li-yu (湯麗玉) said that, disregarding the numbers of those with uncertain dementia, the percentage of people aged 65 and over with dementia is 5.04 percent, according to the latest survey completed in May, “which has increased from April’s 4.97 percent.”

Facing the challenge of a growing population with dementia, the Ministry of Health and Welfare at the end of last month announced the nation’s dementia prevention and care policy strategy, the first official policy framework on dementia ever pronounced by the government.

The aim of the national plan, according to the announcement, is to lower the risk of dementia with early diagnosis and intervention and to provide quality services for patients and their families and carers and to maintain people’s dignity and quality of life. The establishment of comprehensive community care networks is among the major initiatives proposed by the policy framework.

Echoing the seminar’s theme of community-based intervention for people with dementia, Teng emphasized that by the end of the year there will be 120 more elderly daycare centers in the country and 30 more community care service centers in the sub-districts of cities and counties where daycare centers are in demand but lacking in numbers.

“Each sub-district is composed of three to four townships, so the number of sub-districts varies in each city/county. We are also planning to work with household registration offices to strengthen community networks,” said Teng, adding that abandoned schools, as a result of the nation’s low birth rate, will be reutilized for community use.

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