Dementia – An Approaching Epidemic

Dementia is an acquired syndrome of intellectual impairment produced by brain dysfunction (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease; AD). Its prevalence is rapidly increasing, and adequate care of the burgeoning population of demented individuals require a knowledgeable approach to diagnosis and management. Operationally, dementia can be defined as an acquired persistent impairment of intellectual function with compromise in at least three of the following spheres of mental activity: language, memory, visuospatial skills, emotion or personality, and cognition (abstraction, calculation, judgment, executive function). This definition is based on evaluation of disturbances that are readily testable using neuropsychological testing, such as that employed by Brainscreen.

Current and Future Developing Trends

      • Today, half a million Canadians have Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. Approximately 71,000 of them are under age 65.
      • This means that 1 in 11 Canadians over the age of 65 currently has Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia.
      • This year alone more than 103,000 Canadians will develop dementia. This is equivalent to one person every five minutes. By 2038 this will become one person every two minutes, or more than 257,000 people per year.
      • If nothing changes, the number of people living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia is expected to more than double, reaching 1.1 million Canadians within 25 years.


Economic Burden of Dementia

Right now, dementia costs Canadians $15 billion a year, a figure expected to grow ten times to $153 billion by 2038.

Economic Burden of Dementia (in future dollars)

      • 2008 - $15 billion
      • 2018 - $37 billion
      • 2028 - $75 billion
      • 2038 - $153 billion

Cumulative Consequences of Dementia over a 30-Year Period

Cumulative data represents the combined total of either the economic costs of dementia per year, or the number of people developing dementia per year, each year between 2008 and 2038. By 2038, the cumulative incidence of dementia will be more than 5.5 million people, with a cumulative economic cost of $872 billion (2008 dollars). Indeed, dementia disorders are today considered to be a major driver of costs in health care and social systems and worrying estimates of future dementia prevalence have been presented. It is of great interest for policy makers to have an estimate of dementia disorders' contribution to global social and health care costs, particularly in light of the demographic prognose