Nordic dementia network
In the Nordic countries half a million people are supposed to suffer from dementia disease or mild cognitive impairment. There is also reason to believe that many people have not had their dementia diagnosed.
The number of people with dementia in the Nordic region is expected to increase sharply, now that the large number of people born in the 1940s are reaching old age, and it is estimated that the incidence of dementia will have doubled by 2050. As life expectancy increases and people live longer, an increasing number of people are then at risk of developing dementia later in life. This means that greater focus and more resources must be directed towards people with dementia, on better support, healthcare and care, but also on preventive measures.
All Nordic countries, as well as the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland, are developing or implementing national strategies and/or guidelines. One of the first countries in the world to prepare a national strategy was Norway, a policy now in its third iteration with the launch of the country’s Dementia Plan 2025. Norway has also been involved in one of the largest surveys conducted anywhere in the world of the prevalence of dementia, the results of which were published in the report Forekomst av demens i Norge. Denmark launched its second dementia strategy in 2016, resulting in the Danish National Action Plan on Dementia 2025. Iceland’s first dementia strategy was adopted in 2020, Sweden’s in 2018 and Greenland’s in 2013. Finland’s first Dementia Program was in use from 2012 to 2020. Subsequently, The National Age Program until the year 2030: For an age-savvy Finland, that also covers interventions for memory disorders was launched in 2020. The Law on Support of the Functional Capacity of the Elderly population and on Social and Health care services for the Elderly was launched in Finland 2013, and has been updated twice, in 2020 and 2023. In Åland Islands, the Elderly Law for Åland came in force in 2020.
The work of the Nordic Dementia Network, which is coordinated by the Nordic Welfare Centre on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers, quality, safety, innovation, and knowledge in the field of dementia. The network consists of representatives from ministries, government agencies, and expert institutions.
The dementia network responds to the need of cooperation and the structured exchange of strategies and experiences, including in relation to international work within the EU and the WHO. There is significant international interest in the dementia strategies of the Nordic countries.
The Nordic Welfare Centre also coordinates Nordic sub-networks of experts that develop knowledge on target groups that are relatively small in each country alone: Dementia and Ethnic Minorities; Dementia and Indigenous Peoples; and Dementia and Intellectual Disability.
Prevalence of dementia
There are no common Nordic statistics on how many people have been diagnosed with dementia in the Nordic region. The figures from the countries are not presented in a coherent mode. This can involve relatively up-to-date data from population studies or estimates and forecasts based on data from previous time periods.
National dementia strategies
The strategies describe how authorities and municipalities need to work strategically on dementia issues at policy level.
Iceland (pdf in Icelandic)
The Faroe Islands (pdf in Faroese)
Greenland (pdf in Danish)
Most Nordic countries have national guidelines on how health, medical and care staff are to work with dementia.
Denmark(Assessment and treatment pdf, in Danish)
Denmark (Dementia and medication pdf, in Danish)
Denmark Diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment)
Denmark (revention and treatment of behavioural and psychological symptoms in persons with dementia)
Iceland (pdf, in Icelandic)