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Auguste Deter. Alois Alzheimer's patient in No...

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The costs associated with dementia will amount to more than 1% of the world’s gross domestic product this year at $604bn (£388bn), a report says. The World Alzheimer Report says this is more than the revenue of retail giant Wal-Mart or oil firm Exxon Mobil.The authors say dementia poses the most significant health and social crisis of the century as its global financial burden continues to escalate.  They want the World Health Organization to make dementia a world priority.

Campaigners say more investment in dementia care and research into new treatments is needed. Spending more money now would save nations more money in the future by decreasing the disease burden, they say.A large part of the problem is people living longer – as life expectancy goes up around the world there will be more people who will develop dementia.  

‘Substantial investments’ 

The number of people with dementia is expected to double by 2030, and more than triple by 2050.But experts say the costs of caring for people with dementia are likely to rise even faster than the prevalence, especially in the developing world, as more formal social care systems emerge and rising incomes lead to higher opportunity costs. Data from individual countries such as the UK suggests that dementia is already one of the costliest illnesses 

The article doesn’t say what costs. This probably includes the actual medical care for home care, medication, specialist treatments, hospitalizations, etc. But it could and/or should include lost productivity for caregivers, mistakes and errors caused by the illness, lost productivity for those with the onset of dementia but are unaware of it. Whatever is included in this calculation, it is too high.