GLASGOW has been pinpointed as one of the best cities in the world for dealing with dementia, according to a worldwide study.

Scotland's biggest city which sees two people diagnosed with dementia every day, was ranked second out of 30 global cities for dementia innovation in the expert report.  London came top.

It highlighted Glasgow City Council's dementia strategy published in 2016 which it said "offers a template for cities looking to improve early detection and diagnosis."

The initiative uncovered a number of priority areas to tackle, including reducing stigma, improving the physical environment, increasing social engagement, and providing the resources for people living with dementia to continue living in the community.

But the new Dementia Innovation Readiness Index 2020 compiled by the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and the Lien Foundation gave recognition to the city "explicitly recognising" diagnosis of dementia as "critical".

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"Additionally, Glasgow’s plan argues that when people receive an early diagnosis of dementia and are met with information, support, and care, they are better supported in managing the condition throughout its progression," the study said.

"To develop its plan, Glasgow solicited feedback from patients, care-givers, volunteers, and healthcare providers to help craft a three-year dementia action plan.

Glasgow was ranked second in dementia innovation in the study which examines 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 report examines 26 indicators across five categories of innovation readiness – strategy/commitment, early detection/diagnosis, access to care, community support and business environment.

The report found that Glasgow scored well out of the 30 cities represented in the report at an overall score of 7.8 out of 10. Glasgow scored particularly highly in the areas of community support, and strategy and commitment.

Alzheimer’s Scotland chief executive Henry Simmons, says that Glasgow’s dementia initiative offers a template for cities looking to improve early detection and diagnosis.

“As part of its city plan, Glasgow explicitly recognizes diagnosis of dementia as a critical point for providers, people living with dementia, and their loved ones, and that diagnosis is a key enabler of resources for disease management, treatment, and care,” says Simmons. “That being said, no city is perfect and there’s always room for improvement.”

Glasgow, however, were in the bottoms half in the area of providing incentives, policies and protections within the business environment, which Mr Simmons says should be a focus area for the city going forward.


“Without the right incentives, policies, and protections for businesses, cities are less likely to become hubs of innovation for the treatment, prevention and risk reduction, and care of dementia,” says Simmons. “A favourable business environment is critical to catalysing dementia innovation.”

The number of people living with dementia in Scotland was estimated to be around 90,000 in 2017, meaning that dementia preparedness is becoming increasingly important for decisionmakers.

ADI chief executive Paola Barbarino says 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 Ms 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.”

Glasgow City Council's strategy when launched aimed to set out good practices for those with the condition to live well within the community.

With the number of people with dementia predicted to double over 25 years, the it intended to ensure this growing phenomena can be met with improved access to information, support, care and treatment.

One of the main themes of the strategy was to encourage and develop "resilience" within communities so that the impact of dementia was recognised throughout all walks of life, whether that be a large organisation, a local service, a shop, a business, a neighbour or a friend.

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Developed in association with Alzheimer Scotland the intention was to create the kind of capacity in the community that will enable people with dementia to enjoy the best quality of life possible and to ensure they are treated with dignity and respect.


At the time of launch around 4,500 people were known to be living in Glasgow with a diagnosis of dementia, although research suggested the true number of people with dementia in Glasgow was nearly double that. Each year around 800 people in the city receive a diagnosis of dementia.

GCOA executive director Michael Hodin, says that the report calls on cities to rise to the challenge of dementia preparedness.

“The Index shows that there’s a great opportunity to develop bespoke, innovative, dementia-care initiatives at a local level,” says Mr Hodin, “Beyond that, the Index also calls on governments, industry, NGOs, academics and other leaders to engage in high impact, action-oriented initiatives that drive collaboration at a global level.”

It comes as Alzheimer Scotland, which last week celebrated its 40th year announced a new online support platform for patients and carers.

The pioneering virtual resource centre aims to provide a digital lifeline for people with the disease, as well as those looking after them.

A first of its kind in the UK, the centre will bring all of the charity’s resources and expertise online, making them permanently accessible to people living with dementia, as well as carers and relatives.