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Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2014 Apr;14 Suppl 2:2-10. doi: 10.1111/ggi.12259.

Early detection of dementia in the community under a community-based integrated care system.

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  • 1Gunma University Graduate School of Health Sciences, Gunma, Japan.


Early detection of dementia is recommended in the stages from mild cognitive impairment to early dementia, excluding the asymptomatic stage. The advantages of early detection for patients and their caregivers include early receipt of pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies, and early access to appropriate agencies and/or support networks. The disadvantages include psychological damage related to anxiety and depression, and risk of stigmatization and/or social exclusion. The possibility of false positive diagnoses is also problematic. For detection of dementia, various screening tests and questionnaires have been developed. However, none of these techniques are sensitive and specific enough to avoid false positives. Thus, these screening tools are recommended for assessment of the severity of functional decline after sufficient information has been gathered to suspect dementia. In terms of social services, early detection might delay institutionalization. However, implementation of early detection would add a heavy burden on social resources, especially human resources. For effective implementation of early diagnosis and management of dementia, measures are required to improve social and human resources, including the following: improvement of the diagnostic abilities of general practitioners, improvement of necessary care and support systems after diagnosis, and organizing volunteers to support local communities. Under a community-based integrated care system, each community will create a "tailored" system that meets the health needs, health status and values of the community. Promoting social participation and community involvement of the residents should be one of the key strategies to address the shortage of human resources.

© 2014 Japan Geriatrics Society.


community-based integrated care systems; early detection of dementia; social resources; social support; stigma and social exclusion

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