A new report from Alzheimer Europe which has been published this week, states that the overall numbers of people with dementia in Ireland will more than double from an estimated 55,000 in 2018 to 141,200 in 2050.
This is due to a predicted increase in Ireland’s population over the coming 30 years. This means that as a percentage of the overall population, people with dementia will represent 2.49% in 2050 compared to 1.09% in 2018.
Ireland exceeds the broader European trend of the numbers of people with dementia almost doubling by 2050.
A key factor for this change appears to be the significant increase in the numbers of people aged over 60, and in particular, the over 85 age range, which will more than triple between 2018 and 2050.
The report, Dementia in Europe Yearbook 2019 ‘Estimating the prevalence of dementia in Europe’, found that while healthier lifestyles and better education to have contributed to a reduction of the prevalence of dementia across Europe, an ageing population means that the number of people living with the disease is set to increase substantially in the years ahead.
Greater pressure on services
This increased number of people living with dementia in Ireland will place greater pressure on care and support services and points to the need to substantially invest in dementia care services in Ireland.
There is a crisis in dementia care and access to community dementia-specific services across Ireland depends on where you live and no county in Ireland has even a minimum level of support.
This report highlights the pressing need for a National Dementia Registry for Ireland, which is currently at an early stage of development and will require further investment in the future.
This is necessary in order to collect information on dementia in a reliable and accurate way.
“The overall picture is extremely stark as Ireland now faces a full-blown public health crisis”
Currently the lack of joined up recording of dementia diagnoses means Ireland does not have access to an accurate picture of the numbers of people living with the condition in Ireland so we can adequately plan treatment and care pathways for the thousands developing this condition every year.
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland Head of Advocacy & Public Affairs Tina Leonard said: “The overall picture is extremely stark as Ireland now faces a full-blown public health crisis with a predicted 141,200 people living with dementia in Ireland by 2050.
“This will exert extreme pressure on stretched dementia supports and services which are already in a state of crisis. The new Government must finally tackle the crisis in dementia care.”