Addressing Dementia

The OECD Response

image of Addressing Dementia

The large and growing human and financial cost of dementia provides an imperative for policy action. It is already the second largest cause of disability for the over-70s and it costs $645bn per year globally, and ageing populations mean that these costs will grow.

There is no cure or effective treatment for dementia, and too often people do not get appropriate health and care services, leading to a poor quality of life. Our failure to tackle these issues provides a compelling illustration of some of today’s most pressing policy challenges. We need to rethink our research an innovation model, since progress on dementia has stalled and investment is just a fraction of what it is for other diseases of similar importance and profile. But even then a cure will be decades away, so we need better policies to improve the lives of people living with dementia now. Communities need to adjust to become more accommodating of people with dementia and families who provide informal care must be better supported. Formal care services and care institutions need to promote dignity and independence, while coordination of health and care services must be improved. But there is hope: if we can harness big data we may be able to address the gaps in our knowledge around treatment and care.




Executive summary

The large and growing human and financial costs of dementia make policy action an urgent priority. Dementia is already the second largest cause of disability for the over-70s and costs societies more than half a trillion US dollars every year globally, while ageing populations mean these costs are rising. Despite the urgency of addressing dementia, current policies are failing to deliver much-needed progress in finding a cure, while communities, health systems and social services are struggling to meet the needs of people with dementia and their families and carers. This report argues that urgent policy action is required to accelerate innovation and rethink how countries support those living with dementia now and in the future.


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