South Korea trains adults, children to help those with dementia

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South Korea, which is home to one of the world's fastest aging populations, is training thousands of adults and children to become “dementia supporters” as part of the country's recently launched “War on Dementia.”

These supporters are taught to recognize the symptoms of dementia and techniques for comforting those who are afflicted, The New York Times reported. Even kids between the ages of 11 and 13 can participate in the government's dementia simulation exercises and attend classes to learn more about the disease. Then, they are taught to visit nursing homes or any of the nation's rapidly growing nursing homes and dementia diagnostic centers and give residents therapeutic hand massages.

The South Korean government increased health insurance premiums 6.6% to create a long-term care insurance system. The country spent $1 billion in government and public insurance money on dementia patients in 2009. The country currently has 30 million people with dementia. It estimates that number will grow to 100 million by 2050, according to the newspaper.