Education is key to quality dementia care

Ahead of next month's international dementia conference in Birmingham, executive director at the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing Tara Cortes says health professionals and carers need better training and education to provide quality care for people living with dementia. 

As science and medicine help push the average age in industrialised countries to 75 or 80, ageing is having a profound global effect.

The number of over-85s continues to increase and we will soon see the number of over-100s growing at a regular pace. But with age comes an increasing vulnerability to chronic diseases, functional decline, and decreasing quality of life.

A major factor contributing to the problem is the lack of a prepared workforce to care for the unique needs of older adults, and promote or maintain wellness and cognitive and physical function in our ageing population through age-sensitive care.

Dementia is one of the most common chronic diseases affecting around half of those over age 85. Dementia adds a burden to the healthcare workforce because so few understand the complexity of the disease or the changing behaviours that result.

Many primary care providers don’t