Alarming rise of Dementia predicted in Jordan, urgent measures urged — ADI

Alarming rise of Dementia predicted in Jordan, urgent measures urged — ADI
(Photos: Handouts from Al-Oun for Alzheimer’s Patients Care Association)
AMMAN — Cases of dementia in Jordan are set to rise at an alarming rate over the next three decades, posing a significant national public health crisis if immediate action is not taken, according to Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI). اضافة اعلان

The federation, which includes the local Al-Oun for Alzheimer's Patient Care Association (AACA) among its 105 Alzheimer's and Dementia associations worldwide, has emphasized the urgent need for intervention.

Local statistics and predictions
Current estimates reveal that Jordan has approximately 37,000 individuals living with dementia. However, this number is expected to surge by over 500 percent to exceed 232,000 by 2050, making it one of the most substantial increases globally.

ADI and AACA convened a meeting this week with Minister of Health Feras Al-Hawari, Minister of Education Azmi Mahafzah, Minister Of Culture Haifa Najjar, and representatives from the Ministry of Social Development to strategize and collaborate on mitigating these projections.

The primary objectives are to enhance the quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers, alleviate the strain on healthcare and support systems, and alleviate societal pressures.

Expressing satisfaction with the high-level attention given to the growing public health crisis of dementia, Hamza Nouri, president and founder of AACA, stated, "We hope that we can continue to develop our working relationship towards the development and implementation of a National Dementia Plan and other dementia-friendly initiatives in Jordan."

Global plan
In 2017, all Member States of the World Health Organization adopted the Global Action Plan on the Public Health Response to dementia. The plan's seven action areas aim to improve the well-being of individuals with dementia and their caregivers, as well as address the imminent public health crisis posed by dementia.

This includes adopting risk reduction measures that could potentially delay or reduce the number of people affected by dementia in the future.

Regarding risk reduction, ADI CEO Paola Barbarino emphasized, "More and more research is pointing towards the importance of reducing the chances of developing dementia throughout a person's entire lifespan, with evidence suggesting that as many as 40% of cases of dementia can be delayed or reduced through 12 modifiable risk factors."

Barbarino further added, "While individuals can certainly make a significant impact, governmental policies, including the implementation of a National Dementia Plan, play a vital role in raising awareness and creating incentives for adopting healthy behaviors. Other risk factors, such as air pollution and low education, require a governmental and multilateral approach."

National Dementia Plan
The National Dementia Plan also seeks to provide support for caregivers of individuals with dementia and increase public awareness.

Informal caregivers spend a staggering 133 billion hours each year caring for those living with dementia, equivalent to the efforts of 67 million full-time caregivers.

Anoud Hariri, a caregiver for a person with dementia, highlighted the lack of awareness about the condition in the Kingdom and its detrimental effect on support services. Hariri shared her experience, saying, "My mother's diagnosis was very difficult for us. When we found out, it was a shock because we had never experienced Alzheimer's disease or dementia in our family.”

“Dementia still carries significant stigma in Jordan, so when we first heard about it, we were in denial. As her condition progressed rapidly, we felt lost and confused, unsure of how to provide proper care during the different stages."

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