Dementia. A public health priority
• Dementia is not a normal part of ageing.
• 35.6 million people were estimated to be living with dementia in 2010. There are 7.7 million new cases of dementia each year, implying that there is a new case of dementia somewhere in the world every four seconds. The accelerating rates of dementia are cause for immediate action, especially in LMIC where resources are few.
• The huge cost of the disease will challenge health systems to deal with the predicted future increase of prevalence. The costs are estimated at US$ 604 billion per year at present and are set to increase
even more quickly than the prevalence.
• People live for many years after the onset of symptoms of dementia. With appropriate support, many can and should be enabled to continue to engage and contribute within society and have a good
quality of life.
• Dementia is overwhelming for the caregivers and adequate support is required for them from the health, social, financial and legal systems.
• Countries must include dementia on their public health agendas. Sustained action and coordinationis required across multiple levels and with all stakeholders
– at international, national, regional and local levels.
• People with dementia and their caregivers often have unique insights to their condition and life. Theyshould be involved in formulating the policies, plans, laws and services that relate to them.
• The time to act is now by:
– promoting a dementia friendly society globally;
– making dementia a national public health and social care priority worldwide;
– improving public and professional attitudes to, and understanding of, dementia;
– investing in health and social systems to improve care and services for people with dementia and
– increasing the priority given to dementia in the public health research agenda.