Advancing European healthcare policies for people living with dementia and their carers

As a member of ALCOVE’s executive board, it gives me great pleasure to announce the arrival of a new and far-reaching joint action project, co-financed by the European Commission.

The last 50 years in Europe have seen an increase in life expectancy, as well as a corresponding surge in diseases linked to ageing, particularly dementia. Given the high prevalence, cost, and profound impact on society of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the European Union has accorded dementia a high public health priority.

ALCOVE brings together 30 partners from 19 EU Member States to improve our knowledge and information exchange on dementia and its consequences, and to preserve health, quality of life, autonomy, and dignity of people living with dementia and their carers in EU member states.

ALCOVE’s main objectives are to:

  • establish a European network of healthcare institutions
  • inform and advise policymakers, healthcare professionals, caregivers, and citizens through convergent recommendations
  • reduce the risks associated with psychotropic drug use, particularly antipsychotics.

ALCOVE aims to improve data on dementia prevalence; access to early dementia diagnosis; care for those living with dementia, especially those with behavioural and psychological symptoms; and the rights of people with dementia, particularly with respect to advance declarations of will. A Toolkit to reduce Antipsychotics will also form part of the project.

In conducting this work, ALCOVE draws on previous European studies, and existing networks.

England’s task includes making recommendations to improve early diagnosis, very topical. don’t you think?

I look forward to collaborating with Professor Dawn Brooker and her team (Association for Dementia Studies, Worcester University) to deliver this timely piece of work.

For more about progress visit

ALCOVE will report its findings in Paris in the Spring of 2013 so watch this space.