Researchers and advocates believe that the number of elderly people living with dementia will dramatically increase over the next few decades, and we'll need much more money and resources to care for them.
According to the World Alzheimer's Report released Thursday, the number of people living with Alzheimer's will triple from 101 to 227 million globally.
The worldwide cost of dementia care is already over $600 million, a number that experts expect to increase as men and women live longer, especially in developed countries.
Half of older people who need personal care have dementia and 80 percent of people in nursing problems have the disease, meaning that most global health care programs will have to direct resources to helping elderly people and their families deal with a disease that can cause emotional and financial hardship.
Dr. Paul Zollinger-Read, a chief medical officer with Bupa insurance, said in a statement released alongside the report that dementia care for an aging population represents "one of our generation's greatest healthcare challenges."
We’re calling on governments around the world to make dementia a national health priority by developing national dementia plans. National plans ensure that people living with dementia have a good quality of life and friends and family, who often take on the important role of a carer, are properly supported too.
"We believe that Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia must become a national and international public health priority so that countries can develop adequate long-term care systems to look after people living with the condition now, and in the future," the study added.
Alzheimer's is a common form of dementia, a disease characterized by memory loss and cognitive impairment. There is no known cure.