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World unready for dementia crisis

Tuesday September 21st 2010

Governments around the world are woefully unprepared to meet the challenge of caring for people with dementia, a report has said.

In 2010 a total of £388 billion will be spent globally on fighting the condition, which is equivalent to 1% of the world's GDP.

This money covers the medical bills for treating dementia, unpaid care by relatives and the cost of social care.

The World Alzheimer Report 2010 said the figure is likely to increase dramatically over the coming years, but added that governments are not ready for the crisis.

Experts at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and King's College London examined the cost of dementia care and found that, if it was a country, it would be the world's 18th biggest economy.

And if it was a company, it would be the world's biggest by annual revenue, way above Wal-Mart (US$414 billion or £265.6 billion) and Exxon Mobil (US$311 billion or £200 billion).

Campaigners have already warned that the costs of caring for people with dementia are on the rise, mostly due to people living longer.

The number of people with dementia will double by 2030, and more than triple by 2050.

An estimated 35.6 million people currently have dementia worldwide, increasing to 65.7 million by 2030 and 115.4 million by 2050.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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