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Sydney among top cities globally for dementia innovation: report

Sydney has been ranked eighth in dementia innovation out of 30 global cities, according to a new report by the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and the Lien Foundation.

The report looked at dementia innovation readiness, which is defined as the level to which each city is prepared to innovate in terms of novel approaches, systems, or processes that would have an impact on the prevention, treatment or care of dementia.

The cities were evaluated on their ability to adopt innovations and judged by 26 indicators across five categories of innovation readiness – strategy/commitment, early detection/diagnosis, access to care, community support and business environment.

Sydney scored an overall score of 7.2 out of ten, performing well in the categories of access to care, and strategy and commitment.

London was deemed the top city for dementia readiness with 8.4, followed by Glasgow, Manchester, Amsterdam, Vancouver, Copenhagen and Tokyo. New York, Seoul and Stockholm shared ninth place behind Sydney, with Helsinki and Tel Aviv completing the top ten jointly, on 7.0 out of ten.

Maree McCabe, chief executive of Dementia Australia, said that Sydney’s standing in the index shows the city has a focus on creating an inclusive space for those with dementia while promoting a positive vision of ageing.

McCabe said the focus going forward should be on early detection and diagnosis of dementia – an area Sydney scored low on the index.

“Early detection and diagnosis of dementia is essential to ensuring that people living with the condition are able to access treatment and care resources as soon as possible, as well as plan for changing care needs,” said McCabe. “Timely diagnosis will also become increasingly important to ensure that people are able to access new treatments as they become available.”

ADI chief executive Paola Barbarino said that local leadership is critical in preparing for dementia.

“A willingness to act at a local leadership level has been clearly linked to a city’s preparedness and ability to innovate,” said Barbarino. “In order to improve the lives of those living with dementia, and their loved ones, the Index calls on local, subnational and national governments to drive strong dementia policy and planning.”

The groups involved in the report, Dementia Innovation Readiness Index 2020: 30 Global Cities, believe the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the lack of innovation readiness within global health systems when it comes to dementia and more must be done to tackle the single greatest health challenge to the global community.

The main findings of the index include:

  • Cities must take charge to execute against national dementia plans.
  • Cities must advocate for flexible and transparent funding models
  • Cities need to know where they stand with regard to the number of people in the community living with dementia.
  • Local governments and service providers must ensure that there is a sufficient supply of affordable and high-quality community-based care providers.
  • Dementia-friendly principles are the tools and practices that make an organisation, community, or society-at-large more accessible and liveable.

The full report can be found here.

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