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More and more cases of dementia in Germany - nursing staff are missing
Doctors have been warning for a long time that there will be more and more cases of dementia in Germany. Due to the rapidly increasing number of people with dementia, there is an undersupply of care. There is a lack of qualified nursing staff to treat and care for the sick.
The experts of the German Alzheimer Society warn that more and more people suffering from dementia and, due to the increasing number of people affected, more and more trained nursing staff are needed. There are simply not enough staff available at the moment, and far-reaching care reforms that have already been initiated have so far not brought about any improvement, the scientists warn in a recent press release.
Around 1.6 million people in Germany suffer from dementia
The current figures from the Federal Statistical Office show that the number of people with Alzheimer's in clinics has almost doubled over the past 15 years. The experts at the Alzheimer Society estimate that a total of around 1.6 million people with dementia live in Germany today.
How does Alzheimer's affect those affected?
About two thirds of those affected suffer from Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. Such a disease affects the brain and leads to a loss of mental functions. These include, for example, the thinking, language, orientation and judgment of those affected. In addition, important cells in the human brain die (especially in the so-called cerebral cortex) or they are at least severely damaged.
There is a lack of trained nursing staff
If older people are mentally ill or have dementia, effective treatment and care is very important. Unfortunately, most of these people in Germany are not adequately cared for. For this reason, many options remain unexploited, which could lead to improved treatment of people with dementia in all stages of the disease, the scientists say. There is also a lack of specially trained staff for the care of patients with dementia in nursing homes, say the doctors. The experts emphasize that more such personnel could prevent measures such as deprivation of liberty for those affected or the use of psychotropic drugs.
Dementia is a very diverse illness
The annual World Alzheimer's Day in 2017 has the motto "Dementia - Diversity at a Glance". This description should make it clear to people that dementia has many different faces and is a very diverse disease. Often people only develop dementia at an advanced age. However, there are also cases in which the disease occurs earlier in life, while those affected still go about their jobs as normal.
The quality of life of people with dementia needs to be improved
"We want people with dementia to be able to lead a good life regardless of their clinical picture and background," says Monika Kaus, chairwoman of the German Alzheimer's Association. People and their relatives are different and life situations are diverse. Therefore, individual, good offers and structures would be needed, and "we also have to adapt to certain groups of people, e.g. People with a migration background, ”the expert continues.
Multilingual website for migrants on the topic of dementia
In the next few days, the Alzheimer Society will provide a website that is specifically aimed at migrants. The site informs people about the special offers for people with dementia in Turkish, Russian and Polish.
Dementia cannot be cured
A disease of dementia has not yet been curable. However, early treatment with medication and behavioral therapy can slow down the decline in mental performance that occurs over time. This can at least delay the onset of the disease. "The most important achievement of clinical Alzheimer's research in recent years is that Alzheimer's disease can already be diagnosed at the stage of a mild cognitive disorder, well before mental abilities are severely restricted and dementia is present," said Dr. Oliver Peters of the Brain League (e.V.) in the current press release.
More innovative research needed
"More innovative research is absolutely necessary to prevent Alzheimer's and to deal with dementia properly," explains David Sieveking, the new patron of the Hirnliga e. V. - Association of German Alzheimer's Researchers. Instead of desperately waiting for the pharmaceutical industry to make a big breakthrough, it is more important to promote creative research outside of the commercial arena, because that is where the really new ideas and research approaches that we need could thrive, adds Sieveking.
New therapeutic approaches to slow the course of the disease must be developed
"With significant advances in the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, it is now possible to start new therapeutic approaches that aim to slow the course of the disease much earlier than was possible in the past," explains Dr. Oliver Peters. Earlier treatment was necessary because any measures to stop the disease at the dementia stage were unsuccessful. The physician adds that a so-called proof of efficacy must currently result in studies that have not yet been completed.
More and more men are affected by Alzheimer's
In 2015 alone, 19,049 Alzheimer's patients were hospitalized for treatment. This was much more than in 2001, when 10,306 cases were recorded. Overall, the numbers corresponded to an increase of 85 percent. It was also clear to see that the number of men with Alzheimer's disease increased significantly faster than the number of women affected. An increase of 126 percent was observed among men affected, and about 65 percent among women. (as)