The number of people living with Alzheimer’s in Australia is expected to double over the next 40 years to more than one million at a cost to the taxpayer of $36 billion a year.
A report, commissioned by Alzheimer’s Australia, called The Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056, revealed that there were an estimated 417,000 people with Alzheimer’s currently.
Almost 139,000 were in NSW – at an estimated cost to the community of more than $14 billion this year alone.
Nationally, the report found an estimated 244 new cases of dementia were diagnosed each day but this would grow to an estimated 318 people per day by 2025 and more than 650 per day people by 2056.
However, the report also found that just a five per cent reduction in the number of people with dementia over the age of 65 could lead to savings of $5.7 billion from 2016-25, and a staggering $120.4 billion by 2056.
Alzheimer’s Australia NSW chief executive John Watkins said the figures contained in the report by the University of Canberra’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM), were alarming and a ‘very big wake-up call’.
“Dementia, which is a National Health Priority Area, is one of the major chronic diseases of this century,” Mr Watkins said.
“It is already the second leading cause of death in Australia and we know that the impact is far reaching.”
Alzheimer’s Australia’s 2017/18 Federal Budget submission has called for measures including a staged approach to a funded National Dementia Strategy, a program to raise awareness of brain health and the links between lifestyle and health factors, and better access to respite care.
Read the report here.