It was first clinically identified back in the early 1900’s.
But it is only now,among our post-baby boom, ageing population, that the effects of the brain condition Alzheimer’s – the most common form of dementia – are really being felt.
A report published to coincide with World Alzheimer’s Awareness Day warns that the global costs are huge and growing.
Researchers estimate the global financial burden of long-term care for those living with dementia is more than 600 billion dollars a year – that’s 450 million euros or one percent of the world’s GDP.
If this were a country, it would be the 18th biggest economy on the planet. If it were a company, it would be the richest in the world.
Despite years of research, there is still no remedy.
It is also estimated the costs of long-term care will rise more quickly than the prevalence of the disease itself.
This has led the report’s authors to urge the World Health Organisation to make dementia a global priority.
One percent of global expenditure on dementia is met by developing countries, the prevalence here is 14 percent. Developed countries, where the prevalence is 46 percent, meet 89 percent of the expenditure.
In some countries, like the UK, dementia is already the most costly condition to care for. It’s a situation that can only get worse. Life expectancy is increasing throughout the world and the older people get, the more likely they are to get dementia.
An estimated 35 million people worldwide live with the condition. By 2030 that number could double to 66 million, reaching 115 million by 2050.
By the age of 85, you have a 50 percent chance of developing dementia.
It’s a global problem that needs global action.
The European researchers behind this report are calling on governments to make dementia manageable. For them, that means raising awareness, coupled with substantial investments in research and long-term care.