Alzheimer’s disease, and other related forms of dementia, will impact on at least one in every four people in South Australia.

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. There are many types of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and Lewy body disease. Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65.

Australian statistics

  • Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians contributing to 5.4% of all deaths in males and 10.6% of all deaths in females each year
  • In 2016 dementia became the leading cause of death among Australian females, surpassing heart disease, which has been the leading cause of death for both males and females since the early 20th century. Females account for 64.4% of all dementia related deaths
  • In 2018, there is an estimated 425,000 Australians living with dementia (191,000 (45%) males and 234,000 (55%) females)
  • Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to over 500,000 by 2025 and almost 1,000,000 by 2056
  • Currently an estimated 250 people are joining the population with dementia each day. The number of new cases of dementia will increase to more than 650 people by 2056
  • In 2018, there is an estimated 26,500 people with younger onset dementia, expected to rise to 30,000 people by 2025 and over 40,000 people by 2056
  • An average of 36 people died per day where dementia was the underlying cause of death in 2016. Of the 13,000 people who died, 8,500 were female

The impact of dementia in Australia

  • In 2018, dementia is estimated to cost Australia more than $15 billion. By 2025, the total cost of dementia is predicted to increase to more than $18.7 billion in today’s dollars, and by 2056, to more than $36.8 billion
  • Dementia is the single greatest cause of disability in older Australians (aged 65 years or older) and the third leading cause of disability burden overall
  • People with dementia account for 52% of all residents in residential aged care facilities