How common is dementia?

At the age of 65, about 1% of the population suffers from dementia, the proportion increases with age and at 85 years of age has an estimated 20% some form of dementia.

The proportion of older people is increasing in large parts of the world and thus the number of people with dementia (cognitive illness). There are currently about 130,000 to 150,000 people with dementia in Sweden, and approximately 25,000 people fall ill each year. In the world, the corresponding figure is about 47 million. By 2050, it is estimated that approximately 240,000 people in Sweden and about 130 million people worldwide will have a dementia (cognitive) disease.

In addition to the suffering of cognitive impairment and dementia, these diseases are in themselves a major challenge for society. Unfortunately, neurodegenerative (cognitive) diseases are still incurable and progressive and only symptomatic treatment can be offered.

The various diseases lead to various disabilities that affect the sick person and the people close to him. Commonly, other people notice the disease’s symptoms in their friend first when the healthy partner passes away. Cognitive diseases are, as of today, the most expensive kind of illness. This is why the absence of a cure results in a lot of pressure on public health and society as a whole.

Cognitive diseases are the fourth-largest sickness group in Sweden. Caring for the ill people costs society 63 billion Swedish crowns per year, which is more than the cost of cancer and cardiovascular diseases combined. Municipalities pay for about 80% of care costs since it’s expensive to pay salaries to specialists in elderly homes.

Johan Sundelöf, Senior Physician, Specialist in Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
Reviewed by: Johan Sundelöf, Senior Physician, Specialist in Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
Updated: January 22, 2021
Published: 15 December, 2020

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