"Global Alzheimer's epidemic" predicted by 2050
The number of elderly needing care is predicted to almost triple by 2050—from 101 million to 277 million people— according to a report from Alzheimer’s Disease International. At the same time, the group notes, resources to help the elderly, including funding support and the number of caregivers, are expected to decrease.
The researchers say they are particularly concerned about the growing number of people needing care for dementia. They are warning of a looming “global Alzheimer’s epidemic.”
More than half of the 35 million people around the world living with dementia are located in low- and middle-income countries. Countries such as India and China are expected to see a significant upsurge in elderly care needs, researchers said.
Martin Prince, a professor at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry and author of the report, pointed to a number of factors contributing to the expected shortage of caregivers, including a decline in fertility rates, the increased education of women, resulting in more of them joining the workforce, and the migration of younger people into urban areas, meaning more older people will be left with fewer family members to care for them.
The report recommends giving paid and unpaid caregivers “appropriate financial rewards” and monitoring the quality of care more closely.