Unprecedented rise of global dementia confirmed

A homecare volunteer helps U Ne Nyunt to eat in Myanmar.

Dementia is on the rise globally, according to the World Alzheimer Report 2015, released to co-inside with World Alzheimer’s Day.

Age International, with Age UK and HelpAge International, has been working with the G8 Governments’ Global Action Against Dementia to increase awareness and action on this growing problem.

The World Alzheimer Report, from Alzheimer’s Disease International, estimates over 9.9 million new cases of dementia each year worldwide – one new case every 3.2 seconds. This new estimate is almost 30% higher than the annual number of new cases estimated for 2010.  The vast majority of cases occur among older people.

‘It is crucial that we recognise dementia as a global health issue and not just something impacting wealthier countries,’ says Ken Bluestone of Age International. ‘This report is a tremendously important tool for shedding light on the realities facing an increasing number of older people. It is particularly pertinent because global data on older people is often lacking.’

‘Policy makers need to prioritise dementia prevention, treatment and care and anticipate the needs of the future.  We need to recognise dementia as a global health crisis that has the potential to affect everyone.’

Dementia – the global picture

An older woman in Myanmar is given medication by a home care volunteer.

Daw Ha Ton is given medication by a home care volunteer.

According to the World Alzheimer Report 2015:

  • 46.8 million people worldwide are living with dementia in 2015
  • 58% of all people with dementia live in countries currently classified by the World Bank as low or middle income countries
  • This proportion is estimated to increase to 63% in 2030 and 68% in 2050
  • The regional distribution of new dementia cases is 4.9 million (49% of the total) in Asia, 2.5 million (25%) in Europe, 1.7 million (18%) in the Americas, and 0.8 million (8%) in Africa

The World Alzheimer Report estimates global prevalence, incidence and costs of dementia, based on systematic reviews. Read more on Alzheimer’s Disease International’s website.

Healthy ageing is a global need and a global responsibility. Understanding how to improve health in later life is a priority for Age International, which is why we are partnering with WHO to increase our understanding of how health in later life can be improved in developing countries.

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