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Alzheimer's scourge hangs over ill-prepared Asia (part 3)

Posted Jul 10 2010 12:00am
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Dedicated facilities for AD patients are scarce in Asia.

Hong Kong has 110,000 patients but only 299 places in four daycare centers, and not a single residential care facility.

Many end-stage sufferers are put into general nursing homes where staff are not trained to care for them.

"In nursing homes, their conditions get worse because they are normally tied down and they don't have any social interaction, then they die quickly," Dai said.

In Malaysia, an estimated 50,000 people suffer from dementia.

"Very few private nursing homes are dedicated to the care of the AD sufferer, although some homes will accept a few AD sufferers if they are not behaviorally challenged," said Philip Poi, head of Geriatric Medicine at University Malaya.

"Malaysia is starting to appreciate there is a problem, but currently, care giving is provided mainly by the informal careers such as the spouse or child."

China has up to 8 million dementia patients, but very few hospitals in the country have independent dementia units. By 2030, one in every four Chinese will be over 60.

"Because of China's aging population, the government sees stronger demand for care and medical facilities for the old. It's possible that in the next few years, China will establish more facilities and organizations for old people and dementia patients," said Zhang Shouzi, deputy manager of the Beijing Geriatric Hospital's dementia unit.

(Additional reporting by Venus Wu in Beijing; Editing by Chris Lewis and Jonathan Thatcher)

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