I am Dong-Young Lee, director of the Seoul Metropolitan Center for Dementia (SMCD) and professor
of neuropsychiatry at the Seoul National University Hospital.
Today, Korea is shifting from an "aging" society towards an "aged" society (elderly people make up 14% of the total population). Together with this sudden ageing trend, the number of patients suffering from dementia, a typical geriatric disease, is expected to sharply increase.
There are approximately 400,000 dementia patients nationwide - 80,000 of them in Seoul - and this figure is expected to double a decade from now.
As commonly known, dementia gives unbearable psychological and physical pain as well as placing a huge financial burden on the patients and their families. Dementia related problems are also difficult to be dealt with and overcome by merely the efforts of the individual or family. Outside assistance and support is usually required.
Therefore the Seoul Metropolitan Government started the Seoul Dementia Management Project (SDMP) by setting up the SMCD in December 2006. SMCD functions as the project control center and is committed to the Seoul National University Hospital. The SDMP's main objectives are to ease some of the hardships of dementia patients and their families, and to address the public's increasing fear of ever having to face this disease.
In transforming the existing dementia management practice that focuses on accommodating patients in long-term care facilities, the SDMP is committed to giving substantial help to every citizen of Seoul by providing various services including education programs for dementia prevention, regular dementia screening and early detection. The SDMP also aims to provide financial support for diagnostic work-up and drug treatments, cognitive training and rehabilitation programs, web-based information services, family support programs and many other dementia support services.
I ask for your continued encouragement and support in the coming years as the Seoul Dementia Management Project is successfully executed.