Ten things you may not know about dementia

There is a common misconception that dementia is a normal part of ageing, but this is not the case. Unless you have a loved one who suffers from the disease, you may not have a true understanding of the facts behind dementia.

  1. 269,000 Australians are currently diagnosed with dementia, with this number expected to grow to 981,000 by 2050.
  2. Around 1,500 new diagnoses of dementia are made each week, with this expected to grow to 7,400 each week by 2050.
  3. Dementia is fatal and is the third leading cause of death in Australia behind heart disease and stroke and yet there is no cure.
  4. By 2029 Australia faces a shortage of 150,000 carers for those suffering from dementia.
  5. If the worldwide costs of dementia (US$604 billion in 2010) represented a country’s economy, it would be the 18th largest economy in the world.
  6. If it were not for family members caring for those with dementia, it would cost $5.5 billion per annum to fund paid carers.
  7. In less than 50 years from now, spending on dementia will be 11 per cent of the entire health and aged care residential sector, outstripping the funding of any other health condition
  8. Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in Australia for those aged 65 years and older, with one in four people over the age of 85 diagnosed with the disease.
  9. Although uncommon, people in their 30s, 40s and 50s can have dementia. This is known as younger onset dementia and currently, there are about 16,000 sufferers under the age of 65.
  10. Funding for those with younger onset dementia is limited and sufferers find it difficult to access age appropriate services, or have proper and regular assessment. This often results in them being shifted between disability services and aged care services without their actual needs being addressed.

    Do any of these facts surprise you? Or are you aware, perhaps through the diagnosis of a family member, just how great is the issue of dementia? Let us know.