News Release

World Alzheimer Report 2013 Reveals Global Alzheimer’s Epidemic Creating Shortage Of Caregivers, Lack Of Support For Family Members

20 September 2013, London

  • Number of dependent older adults to increase to 277 million by 2050
  • Half of all older people who need personal care have dementia

The World Alzheimer Report 2013 ‘Journey of Caring: An analysis of long-term care for dementia’, released today, calls for governments around the world to make dementia a priority by implementing national plans, and by initiating urgent national debates on future arrangements for long-term care.

Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and Bupa commissioned a team of researchers, led by Professor Martin Prince from King’s College London, to produce the report.

The report reveals that, as the world population ages, the traditional system of “informal” care by family, friends, and community will require much greater support. Globally, 13% of people aged 60 or over require long-term care. Between 2010 and 2050, the total number of older people with care needs will nearly treble from 101 to 277 million. Long-term care is mainly about care for people with dementia; around half of all older people who need personal care have dementia, and 80% of older people in nursing homes are living with dementia. The worldwide cost of dementia care is currently over US$600 billion (£395 billion), or around 1% of global GDP.

The report states that more attention needs to be paid to maintaining and enhancing quality of life; helping those affected, and their families to ‘live well with dementia’.

Ten-fold increases in research funding are needed to re-energise the work on dementia prevention, treatment and care. This investment is essential to mitigate the impact of the global dementia epidemic on future long-term care needs, and improve quality of care.

The report recommends that:

  • Systems should to be in place to monitor the quality of dementia care in all settings – whether in care homes or in the community
  • Autonomy and choice should be promoted at all stages of the dementia journey, prioritising the voices of people with dementia and their caregivers
  • Health and social care systems should be better integrated and coordinated to meet people’s needs
  • Front-line caregivers must be adequately trained and systems will need to be in place to ensure paid and unpaid carers receive appropriate financial reward in order to sustain the informal care system and improve recruitment and retention of paid carers
  • Care in care homes is a preferred option for a significant minority – quality of life at home can be as good, and costs are comparable if the unpaid work of family caregivers is properly valued
  • The quality of care in care homes should be monitored through the quality of life and satisfaction of their residents, in addition to routine inspections, as care homes will remain an important component of long-term care.

Professor Martin Prince, from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry and author of the report, said: “People with dementia have special needs. Compared with other long-term care users they need more personal care, more hours of care, and more supervision, all of which is associated with greater strain on caregivers, and higher costs. Their needs for care start early in the disease course, and evolve constantly over time, requiring advanced planning, monitoring, and coordination. We need to value the unpaid contribution of family caregivers more, and reward paid caregivers better. We can build quality into our care systems, but to do so while containing costs and achieving equity of access for all will be a challenge.”

Marc Wortmann, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Disease International said: “We need to value those that provide frontline care for people with dementia. This includes paid, as well as unpaid family caregivers, who share much in common. Governments need to acknowledge the role of caregivers and ensure that there are policies in place to support them.”

Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, Chief Medical Officer, Bupa, said: “An ageing population around the world means that improving dementia care and support is one of our generation’s greatest healthcare challenges – a challenge we must tackle. We’re calling on governments around the world to make dementia a national health priority by developing national dementia plans. National plans ensure that people living with dementia have a good quality of life and friends and family, who often take on the important role of a carer, are properly supported too.”

In response to the global Alzheimer’s epidemic, Alzheimer’s Disease International and Home Instead Senior Care®, have joined together to host Living with Alzheimer’s: A Journey of Caring World Alzheimer Report 2013 Release & Roundtable Discussions. The events, held in three international capitals, address the global impact of the disease during World Alzheimer’s Month. The first event was held in Washington, DC. The other two events are in London on 20 September and Beijing on 26 September.

Roger Baumgart, CEO, Home Instead Senior Care, said: “Studies consistently show that older adults overwhelmingly prefer to age at home, and with support, they can age at home. However, two-thirds of the calls we get every day are from families in crisis. Caregiver stress is a driver for transition to institutional care. Interventions that provide support, education and training for caregivers have considerable potential to reduce or delay transition into institutional settings. It is our responsibility as a society to determine how we can better support their needs. We are working actively to raise awareness of the needs and challenges for families and to offer the support, educational classes and materials we’ve developed widely available around the world.”

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Notes to Editors

The full report can be found here: www.alz.co.uk/worldreport2013

About Alzheimer’s Disease International

ADI is the international federation of 79 Alzheimer associations around the world, in official relations with the World Health Organization. ADI's vision is an improved quality of life for people with dementia and their families throughout the world. ADI believes that the key to winning the fight against dementia lies in a unique combination of global solutions and local knowledge. As such, it works locally, by empowering Alzheimer associations to promote and offer care and support for people with dementia and their carers, while working globally to focus attention on dementia and campaign for policy change from governments. For more information, visit www.alz.co.uk.

About Bupa

Bupa’s purpose is longer, healthier, happier lives. A leading international healthcare group, we serve over 14 million customers in more than 190 countries. We offer personal and company-financed health insurance and medical subscription products, run hospitals, provide workplace health services, home healthcare, health assessments and chronic disease management services. We are also a major international provider of nursing and residential care for elderly people. With no shareholders, we invest our profits to provide more and better healthcare and fulfil our purpose. Bupa employs more than 62,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Poland, New Zealand and the USA, as well as Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, China and across Latin America. Bupa is the largest international provider of specialist dementia care, caring for more than 19,000 residents with dementia. For more information, visit www.bupa.com.

About King’s College London

King's College London is one of the top 20 universities in the world (2013/14 QS World University Rankings), and was The Sunday Times 'University of the Year 2010/11', and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has more than 25,000 students (of whom more than 10,000 are graduate students) from nearly140 countries, and more than 6,500 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.

King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £525 million (year ending 31 July 2011).

About Home Instead Senior Care®

Founded in 1994 by Lori and Paul Hogan, the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise network is the world's largest provider of in-home care services for seniors, with more than 980 independently owned and operated franchises providing in excess of 45 million hours of care in 17 countries. Local Home Instead Senior Care® franchise offices employ more than 65,000 CAREGivers℠ who provide support services enabling seniors to live safely and comfortably in their own homes for as long as possible. CAREGivers are trained in the network’s groundbreaking Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias CARE: Changing Aging Through Research and Education℠ Program. This world-class curriculum also is available free to family caregivers online or through local offices. At Home Instead Senior Care®, it’s relationship before task, while continuing to provide superior quality service that enhances the lives of seniors everywhere.