Eleven people a day will develop dementia next year, say experts
Eleven people a day will develop dementia in Ireland next year, experts have warned.
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) said that the average annual cost per person with dementia is estimated at €40,500. By 2041 there will be 132,000 sufferers, according to projections.
The ASI was responding to the publication of the World Alzheimer Report for 2015, which estimated that someone in the world develops dementia every three seconds.
This report found that there are currently 46.8 million people living with dementia around the world, with numbers projected to nearly double every 20 years.
The ASI said that the projected dementia rates are "not a target we want to reach".
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of conditions which cause changes and damage to the brain.
The ASI has called for the concept of "brain health" to inform government policies geared at promoting a healthy lifestyle, which it is believed could prove significant in reducing the risk of dementia.
Tina Leonard, the head of advocacy and public affairs with the society, said the first step in the fight against dementia would be to create a national register of people with it.
"A register would empower us to create targeted campaigns for those groups most affected to increase their understanding of risk, assessment and available resources," she said.
Research produced by the ASI and the Institute of Public Health (IPH) has shown that a low level of education is associated with increased dementia risk in later life.
Increased levels of education can not only delay the early symptoms of dementia, but may also slow down the development of the condition.
Other risk factors include diabetes, smoking, depression, physical inactivity, mid-life obesity and high blood pressure.
"The findings of the World Alzheimer Report 2015 demonstrate the urgent need for governments to implement policies and legislation to provide a better quality of life for people living with dementia, both now and in the future," Ms Leonard said.
"Prevention and health promotion policy has to start to include dementia. With the publication of Ireland's first National Dementia Disease Strategy last year, it is important to further expand our understanding of modifiable risk factors and move toward identifying and testing interventions to reduce dementia risk in Ireland."
Figures show that the majority of people with dementia (63pc) live at home. Most are cared for by a family member.
Next year, some 4,000 people here will develop dementia, and figures show that the overall cost of dementia care in Ireland is just over €1.6bn per annum, with 48pc attributable to family care.
There are around 48,000 people living with the condition in this country, but the number is set to increase significantly in the coming decades, rising to 68,216 people by 2021 and to 132,000 people by 2041, according to the experts.
Meanwhile, in recent days movie star Owen Wilson (46) has opened up about his 74-year-old father's battle with Alzheimer's for the first time.
"It's one of those things where if somebody had said 10 years ago, when my dad and I were joking around having a putting match, that this is the position your dad's going to be in, where he basically needs 24-hour care, you'd think, 'gosh, I won't be able to handle that, that's just not possible'," the star said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News.
"You've got no choice but to accept it. He is at home, taken care of, and he has people around that love him."