The government aims to train some 12 million people nationwide by the end of fiscal 2020 to give support to dementia patients, informed sources said. The new numerical target will be included in the "Orange Plan" national strategy on dementia care, compiled chiefly by the health ministry in 2015, the sources said Friday. Anyone can become a supporter for dementia sufferers after completing training programs offered by a local government or a company. The government initially set the goal of training 8 million people to give support to dementia patient by the end of fiscal 2017, which started April 1. But it raised the target because as of the end of fiscal 2016 8.8 million people had already become supporters, the sources said.
The welfare ministry plans to launch a project in fiscal 2019 to provide better aid to dementia patients by matching them with volunteer supporters, informed sources said. The project will include providing subsidies to coordinators that connect dementia patients and their families with supporters who would, for instance, tag along when they go out or do casual exercise. The ministry plans to earmark funds in its budget request for fiscal 2019 starting next April, the sources said Sunday. Prefectural governments will be in charge of the project. The ministry is considering allowing them to outsource it to municipalities.
Insurers are competing to offer dementia insurance products and services as the population continues to rapidly gray. Policyholders can claim lump-sum benefits when diagnosed with mild symptoms of dementia, while search costs for wandering dementia patients are also covered. One out of every five people 65 or older is projected to have dementia by 2025, a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry estimate says. Starting in October, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Himawari Life Insurance Inc. will provide policies for those diagnosed with early signs of dementia. If those insured develop the disease, they could receive benefits of up to ¥250,000 ($2,300).
A new dementia atlas, published by the government, reveals patchy NHS care for the condition across England. While some regions on the map appear to meet national standards in terms of offering regular reviews and support, others fall short, says Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. He said tackling the disease was a key priority and the new atlas should drive improvements. Charities said the "postcode lottery" of care was unacceptable. For example, every person living with dementia should have an annual check-up to review their care needs.
Symptoms of depression that steadily increase over time in older age could indicate early signs of dementia, scientists have said. Other patterns of symptoms, such as chronic depression, appear not to be linked, a study found. Dutch researchers looked at different ways depression in older adults progressed over time and how this related to any risk. They concluded worsening depression may signal the condition is taking hold. The research, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, followed more than 3,000 adults aged 55 and over living in the Netherlands.