Dementia to Triple by 2050

Dementia is on the rise says report from World Health Organization

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) The number of people with dementia is estimated at 35.6 million.  By 2030, the number of people with dementia is expected to double. By 2050, the number may triple.

Low and middle income countries will be most affected.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Alzheimer’s Disease International published a report summarizing the expected rise in the number of people with dementia and discussing the burden this might place upon the societies and caregivers.

The goal of the report was to raise awareness and draw attention to health policy needs that will be changing as the world's population ages.

"Discuss your risk of dementia with your physician"

The WHO report states that the number of people with dementia is expected to be 65.7 million by 2030, and 115.4 million people may be affected by 2050.  The rising numbers of people with dementia reflects an aging population.

As health care and medical supplies become more available, people are living longer in all countries.

Dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s Disease, mild-cognitive impairment, and other types of dementia, causes a decline in thinking skills and memory. People with dementia need increasing care from family, doctors, and the community.

The rising numbers of people with dementia worldwide will put a strain on the social and medical systems, especially in low-income and lower-middle-income countries.

The report states that low-income and lower-middle-income countries are projected to see the biggest changes in their social structure and economies in the next 20 to 40 years.  Those changes are likely to result in changes in the way care for dementia is provided in those countries.

Currently, families carry the burden of care in those countries, which is a cost-free way to manage care.  As the type of care changes with the changing economic systems, the burden of care for elderly with dementia will shift to governments and communities and become more costly.

The WHO report encourages countries and communities to be prepared for the rising numbers of people with dementia. The report states that its objective “…is to raise awareness of dementia as a public health priority, to articulate a public health approach and to advocate for action at international and national levels based on the principles of inclusion, integration, equity and evidence.”

The full report was published on the WHO website in April, 2012.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 18, 2012
Last Updated:
April 21, 2012