Intergenerational Report highlights need to act on dementia

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Thursday 5 March 2015

Alzheimer’s Australia says the political spotlight needs to be refocused on the economic impact of dementia and other conditions that are driving massive increases in our health expenditure, following the release today of the 2015 Intergenerational Report that projected a 5.7% increase in health expenditure by 2055 under current legislation with spending per person expected to more than double.

In 2009-2010, the cost of dementia to Australia’s health care system was approximately $4.9 billion, and it is estimated to become the third greatest source of health and residential aged care spending within two decades. 

Graeme Samuel AC, National President Alzheimer’s Australia, said: “Given dementia’s significant economic and social impact, it is important that our Government start preparing and planning for adequate dementia services and supports for the future.

“There are four priority areas that the Federal Government must invest in: dementia prevention programs, dementia-specific services, a national program to tackle the stigma and social isolation associated with dementia, and dementia research.”

The Intergenerational Report estimated that Australia’s population will increase to 39.7 million by 2055. The report projected that the proportion of Australia’s population over the age of 85 will increase from 2% of the total population to 5%, and that of people over the age of 65 will increase from 15% to 22.6%. 

“Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia with one in three people over the age of 85, and almost one in ten people over the age of 65, developing the condition,” Mr Samuel said.

“As Australia’s ageing population continues to grow, so too will the number of people diagnosed with dementia.”

It is estimated that there are currently more than 340,000 Australians living with dementia and more than a million people involved in their care. Without a medical breakthrough, there will be nearly 900,000 Australians with dementia by 2050.

Media enquiries:   Krystal Craig / 0407 019 430 / [email protected]