Dementia: The Facts

  • Dementia is a term used to describe different brain disorders that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion.
  • Early symptoms of dementia can include memory loss, difficultly performing familiar tasks, problems with language and changes in personality. View the early symptoms.
  • There is currently no cure for dementia, but a range of support is available for people with dementia and their carers.
  • Dementia knows no social, economic, or ethnic boundaries.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Other causes include vascular disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and fronto-temporal dementia.
  • There are currently estimated to be over 46 million people worldwide living with dementia. The number of people affected is set to rise to over 131 million by 2050.
  • There is one new case of dementia worldwide every three seconds.
  • The worldwide costs of dementia are estimated at US$818 billion. As a result, if dementia care were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy. If it were a company, it would be the world’s largest by annual revenue exceeding Apple (US $742 billion) and Google (US $368 billion).

Dementia is often hidden away, not spoken about, or ignored at a time when the person living with dementia and their family carers are most in need of support within their families, friendship groups and communities.

The social stigma is the consequence of a lack of knowledge about dementia and it can have numerous long- and short-term effects, including:

  • Dehumanisation of the person with dementia
  • Strain within families and friendships
  • A lack of sufficient care for people with dementia and their carers
  • A lower rate of diagnosis of dementia
  • Delayed diagnosis and support

The stigmatisation of dementia is a global problem and it is clear that the less we talk about dementia, the more the stigma will grow. This World Alzheimer’s Month we encourage you to find out more and play your part in reducing the stigma and improving the lives of people with dementia and their carers in your community.

World Alzheimer Report

In August 2015, ADI launched the World Alzheimer Report 2015, updating ADI's global dementia data. By carrying out a full update of previous systematic reviews, the report makes key recommendations to provide a global framework for action on dementia. The report also includes a systematic review of the evidence for and against recent trends in the prevalence and incidence of dementia over time, as well as an analysis of the broader societal impact of dementia.