Around 48.8 million people around the world were reported to be living with dementia during the year 2015. Experts predict that with the the aging population increasing over the years, more than 131.5 million people will be having dementia by 2050 and will be affecting people in first-world countries. This means that the numbers are expected to rise from 58% last year to an alarming 68%.
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Even if the elderly population is rapid over Asia such as China, Japan, and Southeast Asian countries, aging is still rampant all around the world. This is because of improved health care facilities despite stressful times. Many now enjoy growing old, but then again it poses a risk for them acquiring dementia. It should be noted though that dementia is not only affecting senior citizens nowadays, as there have been cases of it manifesting to older adults below 65 years old. In fact, 9.9 million new cases have been reported each year. So in the United States alone, someone lives with dementia or Alzheimer’s in as fast as 66 seconds.
How dementia affects the economy
In 2010, the total cost for people with dementia was equivalent to 1% of the global gross domestic product or $604 billion in the United States alone. The numbers soared last 2015, where it reached $818 billion, marking the cost to be as high as 1.09% of global GDP.
By 2016, experts are predicting costs for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease to reach up to $236 billion. This includes total payments for health care, long term care, and eventually, hospice. Both Medicare and Medicaid contribute $160 billion of these costs (68%).
Alzheimer’s is set to cost more than a trillion dollars by 2050 unless people take action. That is even more than major companies such as Google and Apple. Apparently the financial impact on families that have loved ones suffering from dementia is alarming because as many as 28% sacrifice their basic needs to pay for health care. This is also because of misunderstanding of Medicare and Medicaid benefits leading them to handle medical costs on their own. As a result, families consider patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia as a financial burden.
Unfortunately, not everyone receives a formal diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s. First world countries record only 50% of those living with dementia are receiving actual health care or actually know about their current condition, and the numbers are significantly lower for third-world countries. This poses as a great risk for those who are suffering from dementia, particularly individuals who have chosen to live alone. It makes them more prone to danger and may place their general well being at risk.
What to do when your loved ones are diagnosed
First off, you need to visit the doctor to get a formal diagnosis especially if the patient is younger than 65. Many other factors can be confused with dementia and Alzheimer’s, such as stress or other underlying medical issues. Once you get the formal diagnosis, it is best to formulate a plan to cope with both the physiological and mental changes that the both the caregiver and the patient are likely to go through.
There are many options for managing people with dementia. Advanced medication, state-of-the-art health care facilities, treatments, and even technological advancements like GPS trackers have aided caregivers and their patients along the way.