Dementia to hit nearly a million by 2050

Governments need to plan for the almost one million Australians predicted to have dementia by 2050, experts warn.

The number of Australians with dementia will more than double by 2050 rising to almost one million, say researchers.

About 380,000 people are estimated to currently have the condition, leading to a significant burden of illness in the community with high social and economic costs.

But University of Canberra researchers have predicted that by the middle of the century, the number will increase 2.6 fold to just under one million people.

Their modelling included population growth, ageing and tracking risk factors for dementia.

"Ensuring decision makers and service providers have advance notice ensures that we are on the best path to providing care for the people who will need it, and that it's paid for by a broad base of society," said the university's Professor Laurie Brow.

Governments should be planning for the increase and setting those plans in motion.

"The burden of care most often falls on family members, with elderly partners or adult children taking on the role of primary caregiver," she said.

"With one in five Australians being aged 65 or older by 2050, the impact of dementia on informal carers will be immense."

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data revealed that dementia was the second leading cause of death in Australia in 2014.

It led to 11,965 deaths, while heart disease caused 20,173.

2 min read
Published 9 March 2016 at 2:56pm
Source: AAP