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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 more than 36 million people worldwide living with dementia. The number of people affected is set to rise to over 115 million by 2050.
- There is one new case of dementia worldwide every four seconds.
- The worldwide costs of dementia exceeded 1% of global GDP in 2010, at US$604 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 Wal-Mart (US$414 billion) and Exxon Mobil (US$311 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
On 21 September 2012, ADI launched the World Alzheimer Report 2012. The report considers the global impact of stigma associated with dementia, including a review of current knowledge in the area, results of a global survey on stigma, and examples of good practices in stigma-reduction.
The World Alzheimer Report 2011 showed that there are interventions that are effective in the early stages of dementia, some of which may be more effective when started earlier, and that there is a strong economic argument in favour of earlier diagnosis and timely intervention.