An estimated 0.5 percent of the world’s population lives with dementia, according to the World Alzheimer Report, published annually by the UK-based group Alzheimer’s Disease International.
The report found that the total estimated worldwide cost of dementia in 2010 is US$604 billion, with 70 percent of the costs occurring in Europe and North America. The total includes informal care or unpaid care by family and others, direct costs of social or community care, and direct costs of medical care. Informal and social care costs contributed to similar proportions of total costs, while medical care was much lower. In lower- and middle-income countries, informal care accounts for the majority of costs while medical costs are negligible. The authors estimate an 85 percent increase for costs of dementia by 2030, based on the predicted rates of increase of people living with dementia.
Seven recommendations are put forth and include a call for governments worldwide to: prioritize dementia and develop national plans for the disease; promote access to care; include support for dementia when investments are made in chronic disease care; increase research funding; develop policies and plans for long-term care; introduce universal non-contributory social pension programs; and ensure that people living with dementia are eligible and do receive disability benefits when possible.
See “World Alzheimer Report 2010: The Global Economic Impact of Dementia,” September 21, 2010, available at www.alz.co.uk.