Dementia not only devastates lives, but creates enormous cost to the wider economy, an estimated £26 billion a year in the UK alone. Globally, the cost of dementia is over $817bn and expected to rise, though not evenly, with some regions projected to experience a steeper increase.

Source: Lewis et al (2014). Trajectory of Dementia in the UK – Making a Difference, report produced the Office of Health Economics for Alzheimer’s Research UK

Source: Prince, M et al (2014) Dementia UK: Update Second Edition report produced by King’s College London and the London School of Economics for the Alzheimer’s Society

Source: Luengo-Fernandez R, et al. (2015) UK research spend in 2008 and 2012: comparing stroke, cancer, coronary heart disease and dementia BMJ Open 2015;5:e006648. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006648

Source: Prince, M et al (2015). World Alzheimer’s Report 2015, The Global Impact of Dementia: An analysis of prevalence, incidence, cost and trends. Alzheimer’s Disease International

UK cost of dementia

The total cost of dementia in the UK, shown below, is expected to rise significantly in the near future.

Source: Prince, M et al (2014) Dementia UK: Update Second Edition report produced by King’s College London and the London School of Economics for the Alzheimer’s Society

Dementia costs the health and social care sector more than cancer and heart disease combined, and receives a disproportionately low amount of research investment.

This graph shows the amount of funding received for every £1 million in costs for cancer, dementia and coronary heart disease. It demonstrated that for the same level of cost, dementia receives the least investment in research of these conditions.

Source: Luengo-Fernandez R et al (2015) UK research spend in 2008 and 2012: comparing stroke, cancer, coronary heart disease and dementia BMJ Open 2015;5:e006648. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006648

Global costs of dementia

Global costs by sector show that the majority of costs are costs of care, either direct social care or informal care.

Source: Prince, M et al (2015). World Alzheimer’s Report 2015, The Global Impact of Dementia: An analysis of prevalence, incidence, cost and trends. Alzheimer’s Disease International

When looking at the global picture of costs due to dementia, the international variation in spend on health and social care services has a large impact on the total.  High income countries spend considerably more on dementia care than low income countries.

Source: Prince, M et al (2015). World Alzheimer’s Report 2015, The Global Impact of Dementia: An analysis of prevalence, incidence, cost and trends. Alzheimer’s Disease International

The regional breakdown of cost shows a more complex dynamic as geography has a limited correlation with economic development.

Source: Prince, M et al (2015). World Alzheimer’s Report 2015, The Global Impact of Dementia: An analysis of prevalence, incidence, cost and trends. Alzheimer’s Disease International