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Editor: Alzheimer's disease is not a defect

Editor: Alzheimer's disease is not a defect

Suffering from dementia is a great grief. Whether for the person who contracts the disease or for the family and relatives. Discovering that you are unable to do things that were always obvious, not finding places you have been many times before and having to struggle to remember your loved ones leads to worry and anxiety. Relatives are forced to experience how the loved individual slowly disappears into himself and eventually becomes just a shell of the person he once was. As care needs increase, it becomes unsustainable in many cases to remain at home as there is no possibility of supervision and assistance 24 hours a day.

According to the National Board of Health and Welfare, between 130,000 and 150,000 people in Sweden suffer from dementia. Between 20,000 and 25,000 people become infected with the disease every year. There is a lot that makes dementia a national disease. However, those suffering from dementia are almost invisible in society. Hospice care rarely has the time or resources to take Alzheimer's patients out for walks or other activities. Relatives may not be able to live very far away or live far away. For many, not remembering and losing cognitive abilities are linked to shame and guilt, which leads to silence and isolation. It shouldn't be like that. No one deserves to have their life end before it actually ends.

However, there are bright spots. Actress Nina Junkee and her family have made a great effort in recent years when they have spoken publicly about Junkee's illness, her daily life, feelings and experiences in various media outlets. They have shown that there is life and happiness after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, and that there is much that can be done to simplify, improve, and hopefully extend the life of the affected person.

Another positive thing is the decision taken by the government some time ago to increase the state grant to the Swedish Dementia Centre, which is a national center specializing in dementia issues, which works to collect, structure and disseminate knowledge for positive development in the care and care of people. With dementia.

The expanded investment aims, among other things, to strengthen the center's conditions to develop supports and tools that can be used in care. Last year, the National Board of Health and Social Care was also commissioned to create the basis for a cutting-edge national dementia strategy. A report on this basis should be submitted to the Government at the end of February this year, and we hope that this will lead to improvements in dementia care across the country.

For too long, resources for research, care, and support for dementia care have been inadequate compared to needs. Now it finally looks like things are about to turn around. New brake medications are on the way. Knowing how everything from social stimulation to mental training and physical activity can delay the course of the disease even in municipalities, Karolinska Institutet has received financial support for a research project to improve the diagnosis and treatment of dementia.

We hope that this will stop people with Alzheimer's disease and other similar diagnoses from being hidden away and see their care and concern as just as important as that of other life-threatening illnesses.