Global Alzheimer's Disease Charter

We are facing a public health and social care emergency and immediate action is needed!

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and accounts for 60-70% of all cases. Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are progressive, degenerative illnesses that attack the brain. They affect people's abilities, impacting on all aspects of their life and upon others in their lives, particularly those who care for them day by day.

Every year, 4.6 million new cases of dementia are reported worldwide: One new case every seven seconds. By 2050, it is projected that there will be 100 million people with dementia in the world. No country is adequately prepared to deal with a crisis of this magnitude.

Lack of awareness and understanding has resulted in insufficient resources to address this crisis. Worldwide, attention to this rapidly growing problem is so small that most of those affected continue to suffer without help, or hope. This must change! The quality of life of people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias can be transformed. Too often, they, their families and carers lack the support that they need and deserve.

We, the members of Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI), representing 71 associations around the world, urgently call upon all governments and stakeholders to act now.

The following six principles should be adopted to make Alzheimer's disease and other dementias a global priority:

  1. Promote awareness and understanding of the disease.
  2. Respect the human rights of people with the disease.
  3. Recognize the key role of families and carers.
  4. Provide access to health and social care.
  5. Stress the importance of optimal treatment after diagnosis.
  6. Take action to prevent the disease, through improvements in public health.

Within the limits of the resources available to different countries, an eleven-point action plan consistent with the Kyoto and Paris Declarations should be implemented as follows:

  1. Provide public information about the symptoms, treatment and course of the disease.
  2. Reduce stigma by promoting understanding and awareness.
  3. Provide training and tools to healthcare professionals (including social workers) and family caregivers, to encourage early assessment, diagnosis, appropriate care, and access to optimal treatment.
  4. Provide access to primary and secondary health care services, responsive to the needs of people with dementia.
  5. Promote access to a range of options for long-term care that prioritize maintenance of independence, home and community-based care and support for family carers.
  6. Make all care environments, including (acute) hospitals and long term care institutions, safe places for people with the disease.
  7. Encourage the fullest possible participation of those living with the disease, in the life of their communities and in decisions about their care.
  8. Ensure a standard of living adequate for health and well-being, including food, clothing, housing and medical care for people with the disease.
  9. Provide a legislative framework to regulate and protect the rights of those people with dementia who lack the capacity to manage their everyday lives.
  10. Fund awareness programs to promote greater understanding that the risk of the disease can be reduced.
  11. Prioritize research into Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are not a natural part of ageing. Prevention is possible. Care can improve quality of life for the person with dementia and their families. Medical research will continue to improve upon existing effective treatments. Be positive and adopt the solutions that will help millions of people today and tomorrow.

September 2008

Download and print the charter: