General practitioners across Britain are being encouraged to forego the pills and opt for alternative treatments such as music and library visits to better assist patients suffering from dementia.
Instead of handing out medication to reduce the effects of the terrible condition, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has suggested turning to arts and culture to assist with the range of symptoms, The Telegraph reports.
According to the politician the UK needs to move away from “over-medicalising” the population and focus on alternative methods, such as personalised music playlists, to treat dementia.
Speaking at a conference in London, Hancock announced a plan, which would see GPs across the country hold back the use of medications and choose to refer their patients to hobbies, sports and arts groups to help deal with the effects brought on by dementia and other illnesses.
“We’ve been fostering a culture that’s popping pills and Prozac when what we should be doing is more prevention and perspiration,” The Telegraph reported he said.
“It’s scientifically proven. Access to the arts improves people’s mental and physical health. It makes us happier and healthier.”
In Australia steps have already been taken to use alternative ways to help patients and their families cope with the onset of dementia. Just last month Dementia Australia released a book titled, My Book about Brains, Change and Dementia, to help children better understand the condition.
The book details dementia in an easy-to-understand way, using illustrations and an engaging voiceover to both entertain and educate children.
“Like adults and teens, young children need to be able to make sense of what they see is going on around them,” Dementia Australia chief executive officer Maree McCabe said in a statement.
“My Book about Brains, Change and Dementia is designed to help families talk about dementia in an age-appropriate, warm and sensitive way. It acknowledges the impact of dementia, tackles misconceptions about the condition and provides information and support for children, their parents, family members and loved ones.”
Although methods are being introduced to help combat the growing issue, sadly, in Australia alone, dementia remains one of the most deadly conditions, claiming the lives of over 13,000 men and women a year. On top of this a total of 250 people a day are claimed to have developed dementia with predictions that number could triple by 2050.
Hoping to put a stop to this, the Australian government recently launched a special fund aimed to delay the onset of the disease by at least five years. A total of $15 million has been allocated for research projects with a further $3 million to boost Australian dementia data and track prevalence and progress.