The financial burden of dementia grows

A nurse holds the hands of a person suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The global cost of caring for people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia is likely to reach $600 billion this year. And the World Alzheimer's Report criticizes countries like the U.S. for not spending enough on research into the disease. Marketplace's Stephen Beard is with us live from London with the latest. Hi Stephen.

STEPHEN BEARD: Hello Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: We've heard a whole lot about the human costs of dementia, now we're getting a sense of the economic costs. What are the projections for the future?

BEARD: Well, the report reckons that the number of people with dementia will triple by the middle of the century to a total of 115 million. This is going to have a major impact on total cost of care, especially in the U.S., which spends most on care for dementia patients at the moment -- a total of $172 billion a year for the U.S. as a whole.

CHIOTAKIS: Now you're talking about care, but why is the U.S. being criticized for its spending on research?

BEARD: Well, the report points out that the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. spend between $400-500 million a year on Alzheimer's research. Compare that with $5-6 billion on cancer. And as Anders Wimo, who was involved in the report says, they hope to persuade governments to address this imbalance by drawing attention to the financial burden of dementia care.

ANDERS WIMO: When we have put figures on the cost, I think that will improve the possibilities for nations and governments to refocus on dementia as a kind of national problem in the future.

He points out that unlike some other countries, the U.S. does not have a national plan for dealing with dementia.

CHIOTAKIS: Marketplace's Stephen Beard in London. Stephen, thanks.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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