Key facts and statistics 2016
Updated February 2016
- There are more than 353,8001Australians living with dementia
- This number is expected to increase to 400,0001 in less than five years
- Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to be almost 900,000 by 20501
- Each week, there are more than 1,800 new cases of dementia in Australia; approximately one person every 6 minutes2. This is expected to grow to 7,400 new cases each week by 20502
- There are approximately 25,1001 people in Australia with Younger Onset Dementia (a diagnosis of dementia under the age of 65; including people as young as 30)
- Three in ten people over the age of 85 and almost one in ten people over 65 have dementia1
- An estimated 1.2 million people are involved in the care of a person with dementia3
- Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia4 and there is no cure
- On average symptoms of dementia are noticed by families three years before a firm diagnosis is made5
The impact of dementia in Australia
- Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians (aged 65 years or older) and the third leading cause of disability burden overall1
- Australia faces a shortage of more than 150,000 paid and unpaid carers for people with dementia by 20296
- Total direct health and aged care system expenditure on people with dementia was at least $4.9 billion in 2009-101
- Dementia will become the third greatest source of health and residential aged care spending within two decades. These costs alone will be around 1% of GDP2
- By the 2060s, spending on dementia is set to outstrip that of any other health condition. It is projected to be $83 billion (in 2006-07 dollars), and will represent around 11% of health and residential aged care sector spending2
- More than 50% of residents in Australian Government-subsidised aged care facilities have dementia (85,227 out of 164,116 permanent residents with an ACFI assessment at 30 June, 2011)7
- Almost half (44%) of permanent residents with dementia also had a diagnosis of a mental illness7
- The Federal Government is providing an additional $200 million for dementia research over the next five years. This funding will significantly boost funding for Australia’s dementia research sector to over $60 million per annum.
- As part of the Federal Government’s commitment to dementia research the National Health and Medical Research Council’s National Institute of Dementia Research was established to ensure priority research in dementia is coordinated, funded and communicated. The Institute collaborates with Australia’s best researchers while also drawing on the expertise of consumers, health professionals, industry and policy makers to translate evidence into policy and practice that works towards achieving a five year delay in the onset of dementia by 2025.
- One of the pressing issues is to build capacity in the dementia research sector by supporting students and early career dementia researchers. The Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation, supported by donations from the public, plays a major role in this effort and will fund a number of new and early career researchers through scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships in 2016
- Worldwide, there are more than 46.8 million people with dementia today and 131.5 million predicted by 20508
- In high income countries only 20-50% of people with dementia are recognised and documented in primary care9
- The total estimated worldwide costs of dementia were US$815 billion in 20158
- If dementia were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy8
What is dementia?
Dementia is the term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses which cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning.
It is a broad term used to describe a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and physical functioning.
Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65.
1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Dementia in Australia.
2 Access Economics (2009) Keeping Dementia Front of Mind: Incidence and prevalence 2009-2050. Report for Alzheimer’s Australia.
3 Alzheimer’s Australia, (2011) Pfizer Health Report Issue #45 – Dementia, Pfizer Australia.
4 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2015) Causes of Death, Australia, 2013: Cat no. 3303.0
5 Phillips, J., Pond, D., Goode, S (2011) Timely Diagnosis of Dementia: Can we do better?
6 Access Economics (2009) Making choices, Future Dementia Care: Projections, Problems and Preferences. Report for Alzheimer’s Australia
7 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2012) Residential aged care in Australia 2010-11: A statistical overview. Cat. no. AGE 68. Canberra
8 Alzheimer’s Disease International (2015) The Global Impact of Dementia: An analysis of prevalence, incidence, cost and trends. World Alzheimer Report
9 Alzheimer’s Disease International (2011) The Benefits of Early Diagnosis and Intervention. World Alzheimer Report
These key facts and statistics are also available as a PDF file which you can download and print
Download the key facts and statistics PDF file - updated February 2016
- What is dementia?
- Memory loss
- Types of dementia
- Progression of dementia
- Information in other languages
- How is dementia treated?
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Groups
- LGBTI communities and dementia
- Risk factors
- Frequently asked questions
- Help Sheets (facts, advice, strategies)
- National Dementia Helpline - 1800 100 500