Currently, about 44 million people are living with dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s disease, worldwide, but according to Alzheimer’s Disease International, cases of the disease could reach 135 million by 2050.
Why? Because we are living longer, and dementia generally affects the elderly. What’s troubling about the latest statistics is that by 2050, 71% of dementia patients are expected to be in middle income and poor countries, such as those in South East Asia and Africa, that are not prepared for the surge.
In a report that was released before the G8 dementia summit in London scheduled next week, the researchers say most governments are “woefully unprepared for the dementia epidemic;” only 13 countries have raised funds and begun plans for a dementia program to accommodate the added social support and medical services needed by these patients. Already, dementia care accounts for about 1% of global gross domestic product, at $600 billion, and with more affected people, that number will only balloon.
“All nations that must commit to a sustained increase in dementia research and a comprehensive plan for collaborative action involving all relevant government sectors, industry and civil society,” the authors say, calling dementia one of the biggest global health challenges of this generation.