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Dementia Education Online

Module 1: What is Dementia?


i. Epidemiological Trends


The aim of this content focus area is to present an overview of the incidence and prevalence of dementia.


By the end of this content focus area you will have an awareness of the overall trend of incidence and prevalence of dementia across different groups.

Epidemiological Trends

Epidemiological trends refer of the anticipated number of new people who will be diagnosed with dementia (incidence) and to the number of people with an existing diagnosis of dementia (prevalence).

The biggest predictor of prevalence and incidence rates of dementia is increasing age. Since the number of people living into their old age in Australia is rising the prevalence of dementia in Australia will rise significantly in the future [1].

Dementia is a growing global health and social issue [2]. Importantly, governments around the world, including Australia, have started to evaluate the impact of dementia on the economy [3].

Australia has taken an international lead through the adoption of "Dementia: A National Health Priority" initiative [4].

References and Resources

  1. Mathers, C, Leonardi, M 2006, Global burden of dementia in the year 2000: summary of methods and data sources, Report to the World Health Organisation, Geneva, [Available at http://www.who.int/healthinfo/statistics/bod_dementia.pdf, accessed Nov 2007].

  2. Access Economics 2005, Dementia: Estimates and Projections: Australian States and Territories, Access Economics in Association with Alzheimer's Australia, Canberra, ACT, http://www.alzheimers.org.au/common/files/NAT/20050200_Nat_AE_DemEstProjAust.pdf, Accessed Nov 2007.

  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2007, Dementia in Australia: National data analysis and development, Cat no. AGE 53, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra, http://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=6442454183.

  4. Australian Health Ministers Conference 2005, National Framework for Action on Dementia 2006-2010, Department of Health & Ageing, Canberra,

Activity 1: Dementia Quiz Questions

Please now access the references listed above and answer the following questions:

Question 1 : What is the prevalence of dementia in the world? (please enter statistic)



The world prevalence rates of dementia are less than 1.0% for people 60-69 years and rising to 39.0% in persons 90-95 years old. The prevalence rate doubles over 5 years of age within the over 60 age range.

More specifically, in 2000, the WHO found that dementia is the 11th leading cause of years lived with a disability (YLDs) and accounts for 2.0% of lived with a disability (YLDs)

Resource: [1] page 2

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Question 2 : How does the prevalence of dementia in Australia compare to the rest of the world?

What proportion of people aged 65 years and older is diagnosed with dementia in Australia? (please select one)



Correct answer: 6-10%

More specifically, currently 1.0% of the Australian population have dementia and by 2050 this will increase to 2.8% of the population in Australia and 6.3% of 75-84 year olds and 30.2% of 85 year olds have dementia

Resource: [2] page 6

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Question 3 : What are the economic and health costs of Dementia for society in Australia? (please enter statistic)



"Total health and aged care system expenditure for dementia in 2003 is estimated at $1.4 billion. The majority is in the residential aged care sector where $993 million was attributed to dementia. Admitted patient expenditure of $149.3 million, pharmaceutical expenditure of $72.8 million and out-of-hospital medical service expenditure of nearly $20 million are also attributed to people with dementia. Expenditure for programme support from HACC, EACH, Veterans' Home Care, CACO and ACAP is estimated to be $135 million."

Resource: [3] pages 191-193

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Question 4 : What strategy has the Australian Government adopted within its National Framework to address this important issue of the rising prevalence rates of dementia and its associated impact on and individuals and the economy of the country? (please submit text)



A strategic approach focusing on initiatives within the areas of (i) Care and Support; (ii) Access and Equity; (iii) Information & Education; (iv) Research; and (v) Workforce and Training

Resource: [4] page 8
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