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Global cost of dementia set to reach US$1 trillion by 2018

It is estimated that there will be over 9.9 million new cases of dementia each year worldwide, implying one new case every 3 seconds. This new estimate is almost 30 percent higher than previously expected.
There are currently 46.8 million people living with dementia around the world, with numbers projected to nearly double every 20 years.
There are currently 46.8 million people living with dementia around the world, with numbers projected to nearly double every 20 years.

These are some of the astounding statistics to come out of Alzheimer’s Disease International’s World Alzheimer’s Report 2015 ‘The Global Impact of Dementia: An analysis of prevalence, incidence, cost and trends’, released in London this week.

The report found there are currently 46.8 million people living with dementia around the world, with numbers projected to nearly double every 20 years, increasing to 74.7 million by 2030.

The report also indicated that the current annual cost of dementia is US $818 billion, and is expected to become a trillion dollar disease in just three years’ time. This shows that the cost of dementia has increased by 35% since the 2010 World Alzheimer’s Report which estimated US $604 billion.

Alzheimer’s Australia National President, Professor Graeme Samuel says, “the time has come to take global action against dementia. It is clear from these findings that the global costs are growing more rapidly than the number of people affected.”

The updated estimates on dementia’s global prevalence, incidence and cost are based on new research led by Professor Martin Prince from King’s College London’s Global Observatory for Ageing and Dementia Care. The report has highlighted dementia’s increasing impact on low and middle income countries (LMICs). It is estimated that 58% of all people living with dementia today reside in LMICs, a proportion that is anticipated to rise to 68% by 2050, driven mainly by population growth and an ageing global population.

In light of the findings, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) have issued a number of global recommendations:

  • Awareness raising of dementia to encourage and create dementia-friendly communities
  • Promotion of risk reduction measures
  • Improving the diagnosis process
  • Support for family carers through information, social support, respite and counselling
  • Strengthening primary health care as a key part of the health system to respond to the dementia challenge
  • Upscaling of dementia research
  • Each country should develop its own national dementia strategy as a framework for action.

Professor Graeme Samuel continues, “these findings demonstrate the urgent need for governments both here in Australia and around the world to implement policies and legislation to provide a better quality of life for people living with dementia, both now and in the future.”

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