Dementia is now one of the biggest health care problems worldwide. The number of people with dementia is growing rapidly. Partly due to the sharp increase in life expectancy and to changes in lifestyle. Whereas in 2011 there were 35 million people with dementia worldwide, by 2050 it is expected that this number will have grown to at least 115 million. In the G8 countries the number of people with dementia has doubled and indeed in the United States it has even tripled with all the inevitable financial consequences. And realistically no general solution in terms of medicines or therapy is expected before 2025.
Good care and support for people with dementia and help with managing their circumstances are for the time being the only means of coping with this global problem. Caring for people with dementia is a specialised role and also a very difficult one. What is happening, exactly, to someone with dementia? How does someone with dementia feel? It is not surprising that a lack of understanding of what people in their care are experiencing often leads to carers becoming overstressed and hampers their efforts to provide effective experience based care. This in turn leads to the loss of volunteer carers, frustration, absenteeism and decline in the quality of professional care which in turn increase the costs of care even further.
In order to support carers a successful simulation training package has been developed in the Netherlands entitled Into D’mentia. This training, which was developed by a consortium of universities, health institutions and companies, focuses on both volunteer carers and health care professionals. A visit to Into D’mentia provides carers with a better understanding of how persons with dementia experience the world around them. Within just one hour carers’ understanding of the effects of the condition is increased and they feel more compassion for sufferers. This deepens and improves the realtionships that volunteer carers and health care professionals have with patients. The outcome is better care with less stress which helps enable people with dementia to remain in their own homes for longer.