Number of people with dementia worldwide to triple in next 30 years – Alzheimer’s Society comment

The World Health Organisation today warned that, as the global population ages, the number of people living with dementia is expected to triple from 50 million to 152 million by 2050.

The WHO also stated that the estimated annual global cost of dementia is US$ 818 billion, equivalent to more than 1% of global gross domestic product. The total cost includes direct medical costs, social care and informal care (loss of income of carers). By 2030, the cost is expected to have more than doubled, to US$ 2 trillion, a cost that could undermine social and economic development and overwhelm health and social services, including long-term care systems.

Dominic Carter, Senior Policy Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

'With an ageing population and no way to cure, prevent or slow down the condition, dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer. If nothing changes, 2 million people in the UK will be living with dementia by 2051, more than double the number today.

'Many of these people will be heavily reliant on our social care system. These estimates are yet another wake-up call that the current system – already on its knees from decades of underfunding – needs urgent attention from the Government if it’s to cope.

'The UK must be a global leader in finding ways to tackle the challenge of caring for these vulnerable people, by both carrying out world leading research, and putting it into practice.'