Alzheimer's Society Chief Policy and Research Officer, Doug Brown, has called for a greater share of funding to be dedicated to developing dementia care techniques, rather than fixating on a potential future cure.
In this article, we'll look at dementia research funding, new dementia care research and how specialist dementia care techniques can improve quality of life (QoL) for people with the condition.
What's happening with dementia research funding?
850,000 people in the UK (one-sixth of those aged 80+) have dementia today. The condition is set to become the biggest single cause of death in the 21st century.
Despite the gravity of this challenge, Jones – writing in The Guardian – highlighted how less than 5% of funds raised to research this condition is currently spent on developing dementia care techniques.
Developing treatments is, of course, a vital factor and the long-term goal. However, despite decades of research, scientists are yet to uncover a cure or even an effective means of alleviating symptoms.
As such, Jones stated that a larger portion of this funding should be used to enhance care standards for those living with the condition today. Developing dementia care techniques could result in immediate improvements to the QoL of people with the condition, he argues.
Developing dementia care techniques: a new research approach
To move towards this new model, Alzheimer's Society is set to publish a report in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
Deriving input from carers, researchers and individuals with the condition, this report will form a 'roadmap' for future dementia research with a greater focus on care.
The Department of Health, Public Health England, the National Institute for Health Research and Economic and Social Research Council have all contributed, as have academics from 11 leading universities.
According to Jones, the key goals of this initiative are to:
- "Increase knowledge of risk factors to prevent future cases of dementia"
- "Maximise the benefits of seeking and receiving a dementia diagnosis"
- "Improve quality of life for people affected by dementia"
- "Enable the dementia workforce to deliver improved practice"
- "Optimise quality and inclusivity of health and social care systems"
This represents a more balanced approach to dementia research; one that can improve the lives of people today, as well as tomorrow.
The Good Care Group and specialist dementia care
At The Good Care Group, we do everything within our power to improve QoL for people with dementia.
Much of this stems from our ability to use innovative, well-researched care techniques developed specially for those with dementia.
One of these techniques is the Specialised Early Care for Alzheimer’s (SPECAL) approach; a model developed by dementia care specialists that goes beyond what most care providers today are able to offer.
SPECAL focuses on communicating with people who have dementia in a more accessible way. However, in addition to providing vital interaction and ensuring their preferences are taken into account, this model also:
- Increases confidence
- Slows the rate of deterioration
- Reduces medication use to a minimum
- Enables independent living for longer
Developing dementia care techniques is the only way to improve QoL for people with the condition today. We'll be keeping a close eye on the Alzheimer's Society initiative and hoping it has the desired results.
Learn more about how The Good Care Group deploys advanced dementia care techniques to help improve quality of life for people with the condition.