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).
The predicted explosion of dementia cases may be less severe than previously thought, a study in Nature Communications suggests. Researchers looked at three areas of England, 20 years apart, and found new rates of dementia were lower than past trends would suggest. They say improvements in men's health is the most likely explanation. But charities warn against complacency, with more than 200,000 dementia cases diagnosed each year in the UK. Researchers, funded by the Medical Research Council and dementia charities, interviewed about 7,500 people aged 65 and over living in Cambridgeshire, Nottingham and Newcastle in the early 1990s.
"This connection is important," Bohn said. "It gives meaning and purpose to dementia patients' lives. Our caregivers recreate family for them and provide personal, individualized care in a home-like setting, where they engage with other memory-care patients. Without a family and home environment created and maintained by caregivers, dementia patients can waste away."