Take action to beat the global dementia crisis this World Alzheimer’s Day
Friday, 21 September 2018
Today is World Alzheimer’s Day, part of the World Alzheimer’s Month campaign led by Alzheimer’s Disease International. This World Alzheimer’s Day, we’re urging international civil society to unite in recognising dementia as a core development issue, taking action on this global health priority.
The theme for this year’s World Alzheimer’s Month is ‘Every 3 seconds’. In the three seconds it takes you to read this sentence, another person will have developed dementia worldwide. Dementia is a global health crisis – 50 million live with the condition worldwide and it’s now one of the leading causes of death.
Here are three reasons why dementia is a global health and development priority that can no longer be ignored.
1. Dementia costs the global economy $1trillion annually
That’s a cost greater than the GDP of all but the 15 richest economies in the world. Eighty per cent of these costs account for the unpaid and formal care for people living with dementia, two-thirds of which is delivered by women. Despite this, many countries are unprepared for financing long-term care. As social changes in low-middle income countries (LMICs) mean fewer family members are able to provide care, the urgent need for social care will shift to the formal sector. The global cost of dementia will double to US$2trillion by 2030.
Yet diagnosis rates are low, research is underfunded and people are receiving sub-standard or no care, with stigma in many communities remaining rife. In some countries, there’s not even a word for dementia.
2. Dementia is projected to affect 75.6 million by 2030 and almost triple by 2050 to 131.5 million
Worryingly, ageing populations – especially in low to middle income countries – are set to exacerbate prevalence rates. The potential ramifications of this are huge. More than half of people with dementia worldwide (58%) live in LMICs – and the number in some regions is expected to increase fivefold by 2050. The number of people living with dementia in high income countries is also expected to double by 2050. With no new drug to reduce symptoms in 15 years, it has never been more vital to invest in research.
3. An average of three quarters of people with dementia have not received a diagnosis worldwide
Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia. As few as one in 10 individuals receive a diagnosis for dementia in low and middle income countries, and less than 50% are diagnosed in high income countries. Globally there is a persistent lack of understanding that dementia is a medical condition and not a normal part of ageing. People living with dementia all over the world desperately need access to a medical practitioner who can provide a diagnosis and help to plan necessary support.
Take action for World Alzheimer’s Month
Without action the world is woefully unprepared for the dementia crisis. This World Alzheimer’s Month, the Global Alzheimer’s & Dementia Action Alliance (GADAA) is urging international civil society to unite in recognising dementia as a core development issue, taking action to beat dementia.
Use our World Alzheimer’s Month Toolkit (with a template web story, sample social media, stats and infographics) to get started.
If you do one thing, please tweet, and encourage others to, using the World Alzheimer’s Month hashtags #WorldAlzMonth #WorldAlzDay and #Every3Seconds.
You could also:
Promote World Alzheimer’s Month to your networks. Talk about dementia on social media, run a feature on your website, blog or newsletter, even get involved in media activity. Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia. Tell your supporters and partners why urgent action is needed on dementia worldwide, and how it relates to your core aims.
Tell your teams about dementia & GADAA. The ethos of GADAA is that the impact of dementia is cross-cutting and we all have a role to play to tackle it worldwide. Use World Alzheimer’s Month to communicate to your staff why your organisation is part of the GADAA network and how dementia impacts on your wider work. Also take the opportunity to support staff that may be impacted by dementia and to signpost to the support available to help people living with the condition.
Join GADAA. Help keep dementia a priority all year round. International civil society organisations also have a major role to play in global action on dementia and can join GADAA to work with other iNGOs on this urgent cause.
The time is now for governments and international civil society actors around the world to get behind this global challenge and unite for a world where no one is left behind because of their dementia.
The Global Alzheimer’s & Dementia Action Alliance (GADAA) connects international civil society organisations (iNGOs) to recognise the part they can play in global action on dementia. The network was co-founded by Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), Dementia Alliance International (DAI) and Age International.