Did you know this is world Alzheimer’s day?
Alzheimer’s Disease International issued a report today that estimates the world wide cost of caring for dementia patients has risen to over $600 billion U.S. this year and these costs will triple by 2050 as the world ages.
As more and more people reach old age so to will the cost of dementia related illness increase until an estimated 115 million people will suffer from it by 2050.
Fully 50% of people reaching 85 years of age can expect to exhibit some characteristics of dementia. Things like memory loss, language difficulty, misplacing things, poor judgement, change in personality, and loss of initiative.
The highest cost of dementia occurs in high income countries in the form of long term care such as nursing homes. In low income countries that have almost no long term care infrastructure the costs shift to family members and other non professional care givers.
There is much we don’t understand about dementia and yet the amount of research devoted to it is far less than that given to less costly diseases. Part of the reason for so little research might be due to the fact that it seems to be age related and yet the way that Alzheimer’s eventually destroys the brain is not considered a normal part of aging.
The report advocates that in order to find out more about this very costly and insidious disease that a lot more funding is required to bring research into line with such things as heart disease and cancer.