Dementia is a global epidemic. In the US alone, there are more than 6 million dementia sufferers. By 2050, that number will exceed 15 million.
A Global Problem
Worldwide, nearly 50 million people have dementia. Every year, there are almost 8 million new cases.
In March 2015, the World Health Organization hosted its first Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia. Ministers from around the world, as well as experts from the research, clinical and NGO communities, came together in Geneva to discuss the global problems posed by dementia.
“There is a tidal wave of dementia coming our way,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan. “We need to see greater investments in research to develop a cure, but also to improve the quality of life of people living with dementia and the support given to their caregivers."
In the US
In the United States, there are approximately six million people with dementia. About two-thirds are women. Approximately every 60 seconds, someone in the US develops dementia. By 2050, more than 15 million Americans will be afflicted.
The leading cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the US. It’s the only cause of death in the top 10 that cannot be prevented or cured.
The Invisible Disability
If you see someone in a wheelchair, you immediately understand that there are things they cannot do.
This is not the case with dementia. You have no way of knowing if they are afflicted or their limitations.
We might get irked when someone in line before us takes so long to pay. At a restaurant, we may not understand why someone can't decide what they want to eat. Figuring out payments and reading menus with lots of options are just two examples of things that become harder with dementia.