The EIT Health CARE Partnership is Responding to Critical Need for Trained Elder Caregivers in Europe
MUNICH, GERMANY (September 21, 2016) – As we mark World Alzheimer’s Day, the Caregiving and Ageing Reimagined in Europe (CARE) initiative, funded by European Innovation and Technology Health (EIT Health), is well underway creating the core training materials to support the critical need for elder caregiving throughout Europe, which of course includes Alzheimer’s caregiving needs. The current shortage of trained caregivers for the elderly is driven in large part by the explosive prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. “Around the globe, 47 million people are living with Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia. And by 2050, that number is expected to almost triple to 131.5 million,” said Michael Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging, one of the CARE partners and the leading global business organization on healthy and active aging.
“Here in Europe, we are equally challenged by the dreaded disease of Alzheimer’s – with numbers exploding toward 10 million over the next decade – there is the economic impact, and therefore the growing need for elder care and especially caregiver training,” said Professor Lefkos Middleton, Chair of Neuro-epidemiology and Ageing Research at the School of Public Health, Imperial College London, and one of the leaders of EIT Health’s CARE initiative.
In just three years, the global economic cost of caregiving will reach $1 trillion, and this number does not take into consideration so many of the costs associated with the lost productivity of family caregivers in the workplace. Clearly, Alzheimer’s is a key driver, as reflected in the newly released World Alzheimer’s Report 2016, from Alzheimer’s Disease International.
Today, the EIT Health CARE Campus educational program is being developed to train elder caregivers who will be part of the solution to this European and global crisis. The CARE program will also facilitate jobs creation and, in the process, profoundly improve the quality of care available to Alzheimer’s patients.
Ian Philp, Creator and Director of the EASYCare global system for identifying and responding to the health and care needs for older people, highlighted the intersection of the CARE efforts and World Alzheimer’s Day, “Alzheimer’s and other dementias create challenges in late life for older people and their carers. Through the CARE Campus program, we are developing educational tools for carers so they can increase their knowledge about dementias and develop skills to respond to the specific needs of the older person with dementia and for themselves as carers. We believe the best response to aging populations and the rise of age-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, is to regard all older people as assets to their families, communities and society, developing educational systems to help maximize their physical, mental and social functioning and help them to continue to enjoy lives with meaning and purpose.”
CARE has recently issued its landscape analysis, Rising Need for Elder Care in Europe Necessitates New Paradigm for Elder Caregiving Training, which informs the training modules now being created. The modules will be available for direct in-person training as well as online usage. The CARE Campus training program will create new elder caregivers who are ready and willing to be employed, but also become a resource for all those, from family members to community workers, who want to improve their understanding of 21st century elder caregiving in the home, across public and private institutions and throughout communities.