Facts and stats
What is dementia?
- Dementia is not a specific condition or disease. It is a term that is used to describe a range of symptoms associated with loss of memory, thinking skills and behaviour skills that significantly reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.
- Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. As a result, brain cells have difficulty communicating with each other. The type of dementia that a person has depends on which cells have been damaged.
- Dementia is not a normal part of ageing.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
- Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, making up about 70% of cases. Other causes include vascular disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia.
- Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians contributing to 5.4% of all deaths in males and 10.6% of all deaths in females each year. Among Australian females, dementia is the leading cause of death.
- In Australia, females account for almost two-thirds of all dementia related deaths.
- Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians (aged 65 years or older) and the third leading cause of disability burden overall.
- Early diagnosis improves the quality of life of people with dementia, as well as that of carers and family members.
Aged Care Homes and dementia
- People with dementia account for 52% of all residents in residential aged care facilities in Australia. However, not all care facilities are adequately set-up to provide people with dementia the quality of life they require and deserve.
- About 1.2 million people in Australia are involved in the care of someone with dementia.
- On average, the signs and symptoms of dementia are noticed by families three years before a firm diagnosis is made.
How many people live with dementia?
- About 50 million people live with dementia worldwide. This number is projected to increase to more than 130 million by 2050. In Australia, there is are about 425,000 Australians living with dementia. Without a medical breakthrough, this figure is expected to increase to more than half a million by by 2025 and more than a million by about 2050.
- About 60% of people with dementia live in low-middle income countries. This is expected to increase to more than 70% by 2050.
- The number of new cases of dementia currently diagnosed worldwide is about 10 million a year. This equates to one new case of dementia worldwide every three seconds. In Australia, an estimated 250 people are diagnosed with dementia each day.
- In Australia, 30% of people over the age of 85 have dementia; and about 10% of people over 65.
- Currently, there are more than 25,000 people with younger onset dementia in Australia, and this is expected to rise to almost 30,000 by 2025 and about 40,000 by 2050.
The cost of dementia
- The total estimated worldwide cost of dementia is US$818 billion, which is more than the Gross Domestic Product of all but the top 17 countries in the world. In Australia, dementia is estimated to cost more than $15 billion a year. By 2025, this amount is predicted to increase to more than $18 billion (in today’s value), and by 2050, to more than $30 billion (in today’s value).
- People with dementia experience are more likely to have to visit a hospital than people without dementia. However, dementia is not usually the primary reason for admission. For example, common reasons for admission are fractures and other injuries following falls, and unintentional poisoning.
- Informal carers of people with dementia are most likely to be female (74% of all informal carers), 65 or older (65%), the partner of the person with dementia (65%). They usually provide 40 or more hours of care per week (65%) and may well have a disability themselves (46%).
Support and care
If you are searching for care and support for your loved one, do not rush into the first available option. Speak to CareAbout to check various options including Home Care providers who specialise in dementia care. Contact a CareAbout advisor on 1300 721 855.
An individual diagnosis of dementia has an impact on a network of people: friends, families and colleagues. Support and further information is available from the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 or at www.dementia.org.au