Republic of Korea's "war on dementia"

8 June 2011 - At the 26th ADI annual International Conference, recently convened in Toronto, Mrs Sung Hee Lee, President of Alzheimer's Association Korea, presented on the progress of a national dementia strategy in her country. A rapidly ageing society with low birthrates, Korea also faces increased governmental financial burden and family burden and so convened a multidisciplinary nation steering committee to develop a policy. The recommendations have come in two phases, with the first phase concentrating on early diagnosis, public awareness and infrastructure development and phase 2 focused on upgrading long term care insurance, creating a dementia service network and expanded outreach.

Implementation so far is positive in that a national policy and budget has been assigned to the work and pilots started, but the ongoing challenge will be to scale up and to avoid "over-medicalising" Alzheimer support and services.