The new figures were based on an estimated world dementia population of 29.3 million persons. Of the total costs, 77 percent occurred in the world’s more developed regions, which have 46 percent of the dementia prevalence.
$315.4 billion is higher than the total budget of all but eight of the world’s countries. According to the 2007 CIA World Factbook, only the U.S., Japan, Germany, France, U.K., Italy, China and Spain have 2007 budget expenditures greater that $315.4 billion.
“The total worldwide costs of dementia are enormous, and the increasing numbers of elderly pose a challenge for care systems and societies worldwide”, says Anders Wimo, Professor at Karolinska Institutet Alzheimer Disease Research Center and the study’s lead author. “Research into the field of dementia is therefore of high relevance and has the potential to affect the lives of great numbers of people.”
On the 2006 International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in Madrid the same research team estimated total worldwide dementia care costs to be about $250 billion only a few years ago. One reason they cite for the higher numbers is the increase in number of demented persons, particularly in the developing countries (from about 27.7 million in 2003 to more than 29 million in 2005).
In the study, a “base case” estimate of the 2005 worldwide costs of informal dementia care is $105 billion. The direct costs of dementia care are estimated to have been $210 billion in 2005. According to the researchers, the highest costs occur in North America and Europe. In individual countries, the total cost is highest in the U.S. at $76 billion, followed by Japan at $34 billion and China at $28 billion.
The article also includes specific prevalence and cost figures for each country with more than 10,000 individuals with dementia.
“An Estimate of the Total Worldwide Societal Costs of Dementia in 2005,” by Anders Wimo, Bengt Winblad, and Linus Jönsson, April 2007 issue of Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.