The cost of Alzheimer’s disease is expected to rise by more than 70 per cent to more than $26 billion over the next 20 years according to a report released this week.
The Economic and Societal Cost of Alzheimer’s Disease in Australia, 2021-2041, from the University of Canberra’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM), is a report commissioned by Biogen Australia and New Zealand. It builds on NATSEM and Dementia Australia’s Economic Cost of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056 Report, released in 2017.
Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM said with almost half a million Australians already living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease the most common form, this report reinforces that dementia will have a staggering future economic cost without urgent action.
‘Dementia is the second leading cause of death and the leading cause of death of women in Australia. It is the major chronic disease of this century,’ said Ms McCabe.
‘We acknowledge the Australian Government’s significant 2021 five-year investment in dementia and aged care reforms and in order to reduce costs in the longer term, there needs to be a bi-partisan long-commitment to improved services, research and increasing our understanding about dementia risk reduction,’ she said.
How to reduce the toll on Australians
The report indicates costs could significantly be reduced if a disease modifying therapy for Alzheimer’s disease was to become widely available.
The result would mean fewer people having moderate to severe symptoms which would in turn, over time, reduce the impact on the health, aged care and disability systems.
‘The introduction of a disease modifying therapy has the potential to lower the economic impact but is only part of the solution,’ said Ms McCabe.
‘The time for a holistic, sustained and coordinated approach is now,’ she said.
Dementia Australia was one of a number of stakeholders consulted by Biogen throughout the report’s development.
Dementia Australia is the source of trusted information, education and services for Australians living with dementia, and the almost 1.6 million people involved in their care. The organisation advocates for positive change and supports vital research.
For support, please contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500. An interpreter service is available and the Helpline is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday excluding public holidays.
People looking for information can also visit dementia.org.au.