“Dementia isn’t seen as a medical condition but rather as a normal problem of aging – but it isn’t.”

“It is a devastating disease not only for the sufferers but also their family and friends.”

Just two comments made at the UK launch of the World Alzheimer Report 2010 at King’s College, London on 21 September 2010. The report is only the second to be produced and builds upon the 2009 report to explore the cost of dementia to our societies.

The Report has been produced by Alzheimer’s Disease International and written by two authors: Professor Anders Wimo, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden and Professor Martin Prince, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, UK.

In the foreword to the Report, it says: “Lower income countries face a severe lack of recognition of dementia, placing a heavy burden on families and carers who often have no understanding of what is happening to their loved one. High income countries are struggling to cope with the demand for services, leaving many people with dementia and caregivers with little or no support.”

This is a worldwide problem that needs to be tackled. The Report stated that the total estimated worldwide costs of dementia are $604 billion (US dollars) with about 70 per cent occurring in Western Europe and North America. In South Asia, there are an estimated 4,475,324 dementia sufferers – if this figure is multiplied by family members, some of whom who may also be trying to care for a relative with dementia, then the disease is also affecting the lives of at least three or four times as many people. And this figure is going to grow as it is in every country across the world. In 2030, the Report says that there will be around 9.3 million people with dementia in South Asia – an increase of 108 per cent.

The Sir William Beveridge Foundation is committed to working to alleviate the suffering of people with this distressing condition and help to support their families under the banner of its health and social care work.

The World Alzheimer Report 2010 can be found here
Interview with co-author, Professor Anders Wimo

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