Dementia's Global Cost: $248 Billion
Estimate Is Based on More Than 27 Million Dementia Patients Worldwide
Bengt Winblad, MD, PhD, and colleagues calculated the figures based on
direct costs -- such as medical treatment -- and indirect costs -- such as
informal care from family members.
Winblad works at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.
Winblad and colleagues had previously estimated that dementia, including
Alzheimer's disease, had $156 billion in worldwide direct costs in 1993. They
took that figure and added on an estimated $92 billion in indirect costs to get
the grand total of $248 billion.
The findings were released at the 10th International Conference on
Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders. The conference, presented by the
Alzheimer's Association, is being held this week in Madrid, Spain.
The researchers estimated indirect costs based on published papers about
informal care for dementia patients' basic daily activities, and on average
wages in different countries. In other words, they gauged how much time someone
would spend giving informal care to a dementia patient, and what that time
might equal in wages.
The researchers note that their assumptions "include both uncertainties
and variability." That is, they're not sure they got their numbers exactly
"However, this study demonstrates that the worldwide costs of dementia
are substantial," they write.