Relationship between dementia and old age
Dementia is not a normal part of ageing. Dementia is the umbrella term for a collection of symptoms including memory loss, problems with cognition and language, leading to personality changes and eventually the loss of ability to carry out many tasks of everyday living. We may get more forgetful as we get older, however, with dementia there is a general and progressive deterioration in brain functions which interfere with a person’s ability to have a normal life. Dementia is caused by a number of different brain diseases. These include:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Fronto-temporal dementia
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies.
If you are concerned that you or someone you know is experiencing some of the symptoms of dementia, you should contact your local health professional, such as a GP. There are also a number of support organisations who can provide information and advice. In the UK, you can visit Dementia UK http://www.dementiauk.org/ or the Alzheimer’s Society at http://www.alzheimers.org.uk.
Across the globe, an estimated 46.8 million people are living with dementia. There are an estimate 9.9 million new cases each year worldwide, or one case every 3.2 seconds. The number of people with dementia is expected to double every 20 years.
More than half of all people living with dementia live in countries classified as low or middle income by the World Bank. The regional prevalence of dementia (49% in Asia, 25% Europe, 18% Americas, 8% Africa) is likely to see a greater proportion of cases emerging in Asia, the Americas and Africa, whilst it is expected that the proportion in Europe will fall (Source, World Alzheimer’s Report, 2015).
Dementia in the UK
It is estimated that 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK in 2015. This represents 1 in every 79 people in the UK, and 7.1% of over 65’s. The total number of people with dementia in the UK is forecast to increase to over 1 million by 2025 and over 2 million by 2051 if age-specific prevalence remains stable. (Source, Dementia UK Report 2007 updated 2014).