(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and gentlemen,
The 20th century was the period of global population growth. The 21st century will be that of global population ageing, with the proportion of elderly above 60 years of age increasing to between 25% and 45% of the world’s population by the end of the century.
Large numbers of old and very old patients suffer from multiple diseases. Dementia and other age-related conditions have fast become some of the world’s biggest global health care challenges.
Dementia is clearly age-related and causes a lot of distress and pain for both the patients as well as their relatives. Today there are approximately 40 million people suffering from dementia world-wide. At its current rate of incidence, that number will increase to 135 million, in 2050.
The challenge with the growing elderly population demands new ideas and solutions and therefore creative and committed employees in the care sector have an important role to play.
We know that today, nurses are one of the most valued key competences in elderly care and they will hold an increasingly important role for the future.
No matter what speciality you as a nurse or nursing student choose, a deepened knowledge in geriatrics will always benefit you and be an added value in your future career.
The education and training for nurses is highly important. The schools and institutions that perform a higher-level education have an essential role in building the health care of tomorrow.
I founded Silviahemmet in Sweden 1995 because there was a big need for training and education in dementia care for employees in the health and elderly care sector as well as for relatives of people suffering from dementia. It has been our aim to try to facilitate the development of a dementia friendly society.
Queen Silvia Nursing Award is another step in improving the lives of the elderly, and those suffering from dementia.
I am deeply grateful to those of you who have supported this scholarship development in Finland. Thank you for making this come true and for your dedication and hard work.
Many thanks to all of you who have applied with your creative and interesting ideas, your contribution will make a difference for the care of our elderly.
Finally, I wish to congratulate Ms Virtanen, the first student in Finland, to this scholarship and I wish good luck to in your career.