Finland is preparing a national programme to combat memory disorders

14.1.2011 11.02
News item N5-57116

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has set up a working group to prepare a national programme to combat memory disorders. The aim is to secure the support and services needed by people with memory disorders and their significant others. There is a marked increase in the prevalence of memory disorders also in Finland, as a result of population ageing.

There are today 35,000 persons suffering from symptoms of a mild memory disorder and 85,000 persons from symptoms of at least a moderate memory disorder in Finland. Memory disorders also occur in people of working age; it is estimated that 7,000-10,000 Finns of working age have a progressive memory disorder. Annually, a memory disorder is diagnosed in more than 13,000 people.

Based on international recommendations and a conclusion of the European Parliament

In December 2008 the European Parliament adopted a conclusion on priorities in combating neurodegenerative diseases associated with ageing, highlighting the importance of national strategies to combat memory disorders. In Finland the importance of care and service chains for promoting the prevention, early detection and rehabilitation of memory disorders has been stressed in several quality and expert recommendations.

There is a Current Care guideline for the treatment of memory disorders and an expert recommendation for facilitating the care chain. In addition, a National Framework for high-quality services and care for older people has been prepared for the use of the municipal authorities and staff as a tool in developing and assessing the relevant services. Memory disorders are given particular attention. In support of the recommendations a handbook has been drawn up giving advice on how to organise quality services for people suffering from dementia.

The national programme to combat memory disorders will be coordinated with the care and quality recommendations and the objectives of social and health policy.

The programme draws special attention to the promotion of brain health as well as to the entire care chain for persons with memory disorders, its quality and how it works. Staff competence and leadership are factors that secure a continuous and effective care chain.

More information

Päivi Voutilainen, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 9 160 74135, +358 40 5149 455