Dementia prevention, intervention, and care
Livingston G, Sommerlad A, Orgeta V, Costafreda SG, Huntley J, Ames D, and cols. Lancet July 2017. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31363-6.
Acting now on dementia prevention, intervention, and care will vastly improve living and dying for individuals with dementia and their families, and in doing so, will transform the future for society.
Dementia is the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century. It occurs mainly in people older than 65 years, so increases in numbers and costs are driven, worldwide, by increased longevity resulting from the welcome reduction in people dying prematurely. The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care met to consolidate the huge strides that have been made and the emerging knowledge as to what we should do to prevent and manage dementia.
Globally, about 47 million people were living with dementia in 2015, and this number is projected to triple by 2050. Dementia affects the individuals with the condition, who gradually lose their abilities, as well as their relatives and other supporters, who have to cope with seeing a family member or friend become ill and decline, while responding to their needs, such as increasing dependency and changes in behaviour.
Additionally, it affects the wider society because people with dementia also require health and social care. The 2015 global cost of dementia was estimated to be US$818 billion, and this figure will continue to increase as the number of people with dementia rises. Nearly 85% of costs are related to family and social, rather than medical, care. It might be that new medical care in the future, including public health measures, could replace and possibly reduce some of this cost.