The lancet. Healthy longevity




Formal publication: March 2021

Authors: Ibáñez, A., Pina-Escudero, S. D., Possin, K. L., Quiroz, Y. T., Peres, F. A., Slachevsky, A., Sosa, A. L., Brucki, S. M. D., Miller, B. L., & Multi-Partner Consortium to Expand Dementia Research in Latin America.

The prevalence of dementia in Latin America and the Caribbean is growing rapidly, increasing the burden placed on caregivers. Exacerbated by fragile health-care systems, unstable economies, and extensive inequalities, caregiver burden in this region is among the highest in the world. We reviewed the major challenges to caregiving in Latin America and the Caribbean, and we propose regional and coordinated actions to drive future change. Current challenges include the scarcity of formal long-term care, socioeconomic and social determinants of health disparities, gender-biased burdens, growing dementia prevalence, and the effect of the current COVID-19 pandemic on families affected by dementia. Firstly, we propose local and regional short-term strategic recommendations, including systematic identification of specific caregiver needs, testing of evidence-based local interventions, contextual adaptation of strategies to different settings and cultures, countering gender bias, strengthening community support, provision of basic technology, and better use of available information and communications technology. Additionally, we propose brain health diplomacy (ie, global actions aimed to overcome the systemic challenges to brain health by bridging disciplines and sectors) and convergence science as frameworks for long-term coordinated responses, integrating tools, knowledge, and strategies to expand access to digital technology and develop collaborative models of care. Addressing the vast inequalities in dementia caregiving across Latin America and the Caribbean requires innovative, evidence-based solutions coordinated with the strengthening of public policies.