Annual global cost of dementia 'more than 1% of GDP'

The global cost of dementia this year will be £388 billion - more than 1% of GDP, according to a report out today.







This includes the cost of social care, unpaid care by relatives and the medical bills for treating dementia.



The figure is expected to rise rapidly in the coming years but governments are woefully unprepared to meet the challenge, said the World Alzheimer Report 2010.



Experts at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and King's College London examined the cost of dementia care and found that, if it was a country, it would be the world's 18th biggest economy.



And if it was a company, it would be the world's biggest by annual revenue, way above Wal-Mart (US 414 billion or £265.6 billion) and Exxon Mobil (US 311 billion or £200 billion).



Campaigners already warned that the costs of caring for people with dementia are on the rise, mostly due to people living longer.



The number of people with dementia will double by 2030, and more than triple by 2050.



An estimated 35.6 million people currently have dementia worldwide, increasing to 65.7 million by 2030 and 115.4 million by 2050.



Today's study said the costs will rise even faster than prevalence of the disease and, worldwide, there could be an 85% increase in costs by 2030.



In the UK, the Alzheimer's Society estimated dementia currently costs the country £20 billion a year.



The report was issued to coincide with World Alzheimer's Day and was commissioned by Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI).



Dr Daisy Acosta, chair of ADI, said: "This is a wake-up call that Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are the single most significant health and social crisis of the 21st century.



"World governments are woefully unprepared for the social and economic disruptions this disease will cause."



Professor Martin Prince, from the institute of psychiatry at King's College London, co-authored the report.



He said: "The care of people with dementia is not just a health issue - it is a massive social issue.



"This is particularly true in low- and middle-income countries which lack adequate systems of formal care.



"Governments must show greater leadership, working with all stakeholders, to drive solutions to the long-term care issue."



The study recommends all governments formulate long-term plans for dealing with dementia, and praises work already ongoing in France, Australia and England.



Research into the disease must also be properly funded - currently it lags way behind other conditions like heart disease and cancer.



Ruth Sutherland, interim chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said the "shocking statistics" in the report show the global dementia crisis cannot be ignored.



She added: "These sky-high figures represent not only a huge economic burden but also reflect the immeasurable impact dementia has on the lives of millions of people across the world.



"There are 750,000 people living with dementia in the UK and this number is set to reach a million within a generation.



"If we are to transform lives and reduce costs, we need to act now. The government must lead the way in ensuring national dementia strategies are fully implemented and dementia research is given the funding it so desperately needs."



Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust, said: "This report makes for unsettling reading, with dementia having a startling impact on society and economies the world over."



She said the UK was home to some of the world's leading dementia scientists but far more money was needed for research.



"We must invest proportionately in dementia research or we risk abandoning the millions worldwide who live with the trauma of dementia today and the many more tomorrow.



"It is not hyperbole to state that dementia is the greatest medical challenge of our times. The sooner we realise this and act, the better."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

    Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

    Day In a Page

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England