Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) has released
three previous World Alzheimer Reports:
• In 2009 on the global prevalence and impact of
• In 2010 on the global economic cost of the disease
• In 2011 on the benefits of early diagnosis and
We also worked with the World Health Organization
(WHO) on their report Dementia: a public health priority,
which was released in April 2012.
We estimate that there were 36 million people living with
dementia worldwide in 2010, increasing to 66 million
by 2030 and 115 million by 2050 1. Nearly two-thirds
live in low and middle income countries, where the
sharpest increases in numbers are set to occur as elderly
We estimate the global cost of dementia in 2010 at $604
billion 5. This is 1% of global GDP and it is likely that
these costs will increase in proportion to the number
of people with dementia. In lower income countries the
cost of health and social care may go up more rapidly, as
awareness and demand for services increases
The WHO Dementia report estimates there were 7.7
million new cases of dementia in the year 2010, or one
new case every four seconds 3. That is already three
times as many as HIV/AIDS (2.6 million per year 4).
Assuming that incidence will increase in line with
prevalence, since global ageing is driving both numbers,
by 2050 the incidence will have increased to 24.6 million
new cases annually. The average annual increase
between 2010 and 2050 will be 16.15 million.
This means we will have 646 million new cases in these
40 years on top of the current 36 million, unless there is a
cure or a treatment that delays the onset or progression of
682 million people will live with dementia in the next
40 years! That is significantly more than the population
of all of North America (542 million) and nearly as much
as all of Europe (738 million) 5.
Our healthcare and financial systems are not prepared
for this epidemic.
Dementia is the main cause of
dependency in older people 1, and we will not have
enough people to care for these large numbers of
people with dementia. Globally, less than 1 in 4 people
with dementia receive a formal diagnosis 6.
Without a diagnosis, few people receive appropriate care,
treatment and support.
Looking at this data, it is apparent that there is an urgent
need for action. There is no time to lose! But not enough
is being done. Research funding from public sources
in high income countries is at a level of 10% of current
cancer research 7.
Stigma is something which causes an individual to be classified by others in an undesirable, rejected
stereotype. Misconceptions of dementia and the people
who are affected by it are a problem around the world.
Stigma prevents people from acknowledging symptoms
and obtaining the help they need. It causes individuals
and organisations to behave in ways that are unhelpful,
emphasising the symptoms of dementia rather than
supporting the abilities that people with dementia have.
At ADI, we believe it is a barrier to improving dementia
care and furthering research.
As Professor Peter Piot says in his essay in this report, ‘Overcoming stigma is the first step to beating Alzheimer’s
disease and dementiaTo learn more about the stigma of dementia and open a broader discussion about it, we have
carried out a survey among the experts: the people with dementia and their family carers.
We asked a number of people directly affected by the disease or working in the field to write essays and we
reviewed relevant literature.
We brought together good examples of projects and activities around the world that we believe can reduce stigma.
We hope that this World Alzheimer Report 2012 will encourage others to join us in identifying and eliminating stigma,
and, in turn, improve the lives of people with dementia
and their carers.
Alzheimer’s Disease International