WEDNESDAY, Feb. 22, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors who begin sleeping more than nine hours a night may face a higher risk of dementia down the road, a new study suggests. The researchers estimated that the risk of dementia grew by almost 2.5 times for those who found themselves recently needing extra sleep. The chances of dementia rose sixfold for people without a high school degree who suddenly needed to sleep nine hours or more, the study contended. The study authors said this finding hinted that education might somehow offer a bit of protection from dementia. People with dementia often suffer from disrupted sleep, "but we don't know much about whether these changes come first," said study co-author Matthew Pase.
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.
The number of people who have received training to assist people with dementia has surpassed 10 million in Japan, a support group for dementia sufferers has said. As it is estimated that some 7 million people, or 1 in 5 elderly Japanese, may suffer from dementia by 2025, the government is eyeing the development of 12 million dementia care helpers by the end of fiscal 2020 as part of a national strategy to build supportive communities. To become a volunteer supporter, a person needs to complete a 60- to 90-minute training session offered by local governments, schools and companies. As of the end of March, 10.15 million people had completed the mandatory sessions, including instructors and those who have taken the course multiple times, according to the liaison council of the Dementia Supporter Caravan. The sessions offer useful tips such as the need to remain calm and maintain gentle eye contact when talking to dementia sufferers, the council said.
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.