The number of people with dementia in Australia has soared to more than 413,106 – with an estimated cost to the community of more than $14 billion this year alone.
The report The Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056, commissioned by Alzheimer’s Australia, found that if nothing is done to reduce the incidence of dementia, the cost will blow out to more than $18 billion by 2025, and more than double to $36 billion in less than 40 years, in today’s dollars.
The number of people with dementia is expected to reach more than 1.1 million people by 2056.
Nationally, the report found that there is estimated to be 244 new cases of dementia each day this year alone, which will grow to more than 650 per day people by 2056.
However, the report also found that just a five per cent reduction in the number of people with dementia over the age of 65 could lead to savings of $5.7 billion from 2016-25, and a staggering $120.4 billion by 2056.
Alzheimer’s Australia National President Graeme Samuel AC said the figures contained in the report, by the University of Canberra’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM), were alarming and a very big wake-up call and has renewed the call for a funded National Dementia Strategy to deal with the issue, along with a greater focus on risk-reduction measures.
“Dementia, which is a National Health Priority Area, is one of the major chronic diseases of this century,” Professor Samuel said.
“It is already the second leading cause of death in Australia and we know that the impact is far reaching.
“Despite the social and economic impact we still do not have a fully-funded national strategy to provide better care and outcomes for people who are living with dementia now, nor are we taking risk reduction seriously in order to try to reduce the numbers of people living with dementia in the future.
“The time for action is now. If we don’t do something now, the cost is going to continue to grow to unsustainable levels.” read more..