New research revealed that by 2050, the rate of people living with dementia around the world would hit 152 million. It's almost triple the existing number of cases today. An alarming increase calls healthcare leaders to do something to reduce the numbers.
Alzheimer’s and dementia have affected millions of people across the globe. Despite many studies, experts haven’t discovered what causes the brain to change, resulting in cognitive decline. So, besides finding the mechanism in brain alterations, researchers and health experts also recommend making lifestyle changes to lower the risk of dementia.
Even if you can’t completely prevent dementia, you can reduce the incidence or delay the progress of the disease. With this, families can buy time to plan their future, especially the provision of long-term care and paying for it.
A glance at dementia around the world
Dementia affects worldwide economies, particularly the healthcare sector. Spendings are skyrocketing. According to the World Health Organization, the global cost of dementia will more than double, from $818 billion to $2 trillion by 2030. The hefty cost could overwhelm the health care systems.
Find out how dementia is affecting the world today and in the years to come.
America is indeed graying. In a recent report published by the Alzheimer's Association, there are currently 58 million Americans age 65 and older. By 2050, it is projected to increase to 88 million. Age raises the risk of dementia. As the senior population grows, the risk of dementia also increases.
Based on forecasts, the number of aging Americans living with Alzheimer’s — the most common type of dementia — will double by 2050. Currently, roughly 6.2 million seniors age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s. By 2050, the number will soar to 12.7 million, and by 2060, to 13.8 million.
Alzheimer's affects more American women and men. Nearly two-thirds of those with Alzheimer's are women.
Dementia cases in Europe echo that of the US. By 2050, cases in the European Union will increase from about 7.9 million to 14.3 million. Meanwhile, dementia cases are anticipated to increase from 9.8 million to 18.8 million by 2050 in the wider European region.
Finland has the highest death toll relative to Alzheimer’s and dementia among European nations. The number of deaths reached 9,634, or 20.64% of the total deaths in the country in 2018. It ranks 4th in the world in terms of the highest number of deaths caused by Alzheimer's and dementia.
Like in the US, the prevalence of dementia in European women is two times more than in men.
New Zealand has a similar prediction on the rising rates of dementia. People with cognitive deterioration will increase from 69,713 cases or 1.4% of the population in 2020 to 167,483 cases or 2.7% in 2050.
Also, the cost it would incur to manage the disease will hit $6 billion in 2050 from $2.46 billion in 2020. Caregivers provided more than a million hours of unpaid care services in 2020, which amounted to $1.19 billion.
There have been studies on the monumental impact of dementia on the people of New Zealand. The citizens hope that recent findings would urge the government to develop action plans to tackle dementia.
The rest of the Asia Pacific region
The figures for dementia cases in the Asia Pacific region are expected to increase from 23 million in 2015 to nearly 71 million by 2050. It means that in just 35 years, the cases would triple.
Dementia care costs will stand at $185 billion; 70% of this amount would account for the care costs from developed nations. Care expenses are likely to surge as the number of dementia cases rises, especially in low and middle-income countries.
Dementia: a global public health priority
Each year, 500,000 Americans are diagnosed with Alzheimer's. In 2020 alone, the Alzheimer’s healthcare cost was $305 billion. It’s likely to hit more than $1 trillion as the aging population grows. The skyrocketing numbers indicate a desperate need for a resolution to address the problem.
Currently, there are 40 countries and territories that have dementia plans. For nations that don’t have them, the World Health Organization continuously encourages governments to devise national policies on dementia by 2025.
Alzheimer’s and dementia remain a public health priority around the world. They affect the economy and burden many nations.
To lessen the burden, researchers are finding ways to reduce the risk of dementia through other domains, such as lifestyle changes and expanding global awareness. With education, people can learn how to identify early signs of cognitive impairment and explore ways to prioritize their health.
On top of that, researchers are working to enhance the early detection of dementia. By optimizing advanced brain imaging techniques, experts can spot biological markers that indicate the early stages of dementia. With early detection and diagnosis, the person can have better options for treatment, care, and support.
Providing support to caregivers
The impact of Alzheimer’s and dementia on caregivers is detrimental, but it’s often overlooked. Many caregivers experience depression and are in poor health due to overwhelming care responsibilities.
Providing support to caregivers that include skills training and other community-based services can delay the need for costly skilled care or residential care services. Many family caregivers are not trained caregivers, so they find it challenging to balance caring and personal life. With skills training, they can ensure that they don’t compromise their own well-being while caring for their loved ones.
Dementia cases are increasing around the world. While it’s unlikely to have a cure soon, raising public awareness can help counter the rapid increase of cases.
Moreover, teaching people how to take care of their health by shifting to a healthy lifestyle can lower the risk or the progression of dementia. People must know how lifestyle changes, such as changing one’s diet and engaging in regular exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, can help them combat memory decline.
Syed has years of experience dealing with people, understanding their needs, and helping them find solutions to their problems.
As a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP), Certified Montessori Dementia Care Professional (CMDCP), Syed is committed to working closely with Senior and their family knowing what is it like for individuals facing a challenging time, at times groping in dark trying to figure what is the appropriate next step or care level for their unique situation.
Syed and Senex Memory Advisors are fully committed to working closely with families in creating a personalized, step-by-step process memory care plan at zero cost.