Seven in ten Europeans over the age of 65 experience sight or hearing problems, and over two thirds experience depression or dementia. When combined, the cumulative impact of these dual or triple impairments is far greater than the individual conditions. The scale of combined sensory and cognitive problems is substantial but poorly understood.
The five year SENSE-Cog project, led by The University of Manchester, is investigating this combined impact and develop new tools that could improve quality of life and optimise health and social care budgets across Europe. The project ends in 2021.
The project seeks to define the scale of the challenges so that authorities across the continent can allocate resources more optimally. At the same time, researchers will develop online tests, guides and multi-lingual training manuals to help medical professionals diagnose and treat the combined problems more effectively.
Minority groups are particularly disadvantaged with respect to diagnosis and treatment of mental and sensory problems, so researchers will be seeking out people from these groups to participate in the research.