News Release

The Number Of People Living With Dementia In The Asia Pacific Region Will Triple Between Now And 2050

London, 7 November 2014

A new report by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) has revealed that by 2050, more than half of the total number of people with dementia worldwide will live in the Asia Pacific region, and urges governments and policy makers to act before it’s too late.

The report, ‘Dementia in the Asia Pacific Region’, estimates that the number of people with dementia in the region will increase from 23 million in 2015 to almost 71 million by 2050. Globally, the current figures stand at 44 million people in 2013, rising to 76 million in 2030 and 135 million by 2050.

The report also highlights the tremendous costs associated with dementia in the Asia Pacific region, a figure which currently stands at US$185 billion. It is estimated that 70% of this amount occurs in the advanced economies, which only account for 18% of the regional prevalence of the disease.

These figures are likely to increase as the numbers of people with dementia grow, burdening the health systems of countries in the region, especially those in low and middle income nations.

ADI are urging governments to recognise the imperative need for increased awareness, education and research into dementia, in a region that accounts for nearly 60% of the world’s total population, and where a quarter of the population will be aged 60 or over by 2050. 

Four major challenges are outlined in the report; the limited awareness of dementia, the false perception that dementia is a natural part of ageing, inadequate human and financial resources to meet the care needs of people with dementia, and inadequate training for professional carers.

By developing national dementia plans, governments can create the infrastructure and accountability necessary to build dementia-capable programmes for the growing number of people with the disease, building on the commitments outlined in the updated 2004 Kyoto Declaration.

Marc Wortmann, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Disease International said: “These findings are highly concerning and demonstrate there will be a rapid increase of numbers of people with dementia in the Asia Pacific region. Governments need to face this challenge and the best way to do that is to develop a comprehensive national plan after consulting all stakeholders. This can touch on awareness, education, diagnosis, care and treatment, research and risk reduction strategies. The good news is, with a carefully developed plan, countries can tackle this health epidemic.”

The report recommends to governments and other stakeholders in the Asia Pacific region, to take action in the following areas:

1. Provide education and awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia highlighting that dementia is not a normal part of ageing but a disease of the brain.

2. Improve the quality of life of people living with dementia by providing education to family members, paid carers and other health care professionals to ensure that the best quality of care is delivered to people living with dementia.

3. Promote the development of health and community care systems to deal with an increasing number of people with the disease. To the best extent possible, ensure that health and community care systems are adequately equipped to provide care and treatment, provide education or professional development to family, paid carers and health care workers and adequately and continuously invest in health and community care systems.

4. Raise awareness of risk reduction strategies which may delay the onset of the disease for some individuals, and reduce future numbers of people with dementia.

5. Develop national dementia action plans detailing key areas for action, including research, awareness and education, improving quality of care, risk reduction, assessment and diagnosis.

6. Promote and support further research into the health and care systems in lower and middle income countries in the development of health policy.

Dr Jacob Roy Kuriakose, Chairman of Alzheimer’s Disease International said “These prevalence figures show that dementia will present an overwhelming financial and human burden to health and care systems. The countries within the Asia Pacific region must act now to put in place policies and plans to ensure that adequate care and services are provided to people living with dementia, both now and in the future.”

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Notes to Editor

The full report can be found here: http://www.alz.co.uk/dementia-in-the-asia-pacific

The original version of this media release stated the costs as $185 million instead of $185 billion.

About Alzheimer’s Disease International

ADI is the international federation of 83 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.