Australian dementia rates set to double within decades: report

(Xinhua) 11:18, September 20, 2021

CANBERRA, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The number of Australians living with dementia is set to double within four decades unless a cure is found, a government report has found.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) on Monday published its first comprehensive report on dementia since 2012.

It found that between 386,200 and 472,000 Australians are living with dementia in 2021 and that it is the second most prominent cause of death in the country, accounting for 9.5 percent of all deaths in 2019.

Approximately two-thirds of Australians with dementia are women and it was the leading cause of death for women in 2019.

One in 12 Australians older than 65 and two in five older than 90 have dementia. Almost 30,000 people younger than 65 are living with early onset dementia.

The report also found that Indigenous Australians are three to five times more likely to develop dementia than their non-Indigenous peers.

AIHW spokesperson Fleur de Crespigny warned that as Australia's population ages dementia will become even more prominent.

"Dementia is an umbrella term for a large number of conditions that gradually impair brain function," she said in a statement.

"It poses a substantial health, aged care and societal challenge and with Australia's rapidly ageing population. It is predicted to become an even bigger challenge in the future."

The number of Australians living with dementia is expected to more than double to 849,300 in 2058, according to the AIHW.

It estimated that dementia costs the economy 3 billion Australian dollars (2.1 billion U.S. dollars) per year including 1.7 billion Australian dollars (1.2 billion U.S. dollars) in residential care costs.

About two-thirds of Australians with dementia live in the community, many of whom require care and assistance from family and friends to continue doing so.

(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Bianji)


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