Shining the light on Dementia

This September, Australians are being encouraged to find out more about dementia during Dementia Awareness Month, to elevate awareness about dementia and the impact on people living with dementia and their carers and families. Those impacted report that their experience is often isolating and studies show a high level of stigma toward people living with dementia.

Here is what you need to know! 

What is dementia?

Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease.

Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Brain function is affected enough to interfere with the person’s normal social or working life.

Who gets dementia?

Most people with dementia are older, but it is important to remember that not all older people get dementia. It is not a normal part of ageing.

Dementia can happen to anybody, but it is more common after the age of 65 years. People in their 40s and 50s can also have dementia.

What causes dementia?

There are many different forms of dementia and each has its own causes.

The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Dementia with Lewy bodies, Fronto Temporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD), Huntington’s disease, Alcohol related dementia (Korsakoff’s syndrome) and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease.


Key Facts you need to know


  • There are more than 413,106 Australians living with dementia (184,868 (45%) males and 228,238 (55%) females).
  • By 2025, the number of people with dementia is expected to increase to 536,164.1
  • Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to be almost 1,100,890 by 2056.
  • Currently around 244 people are joining the population with dementia each day. The number of new cases of dementia will increase to 318 people per day by 2025 and over 650 people by 2056.
  • In 2017, there is an estimated 25,938 people with younger onset dementia, expected to rise to 29,375 people by 2025 and 42,252 people by 2056.
  • Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians2 contributing to 5.4% of all deaths in males and 10.6% of all deaths in females each year.
  • The lifestyle risk and protective factors for dementia offer very real opportunities for prevention programs that reduce the number of Australians developing dementia each year.
  • Reducing the annual age-sex specific incidence rates for dementia in people aged 65 years and above by 5% would lead to a 7% reduction in the number of people with dementia in the population by 2025 and a 24% reduction by 2056. As a result, there would be nearly 36,400 fewer people with dementia in 2025 and almost 261,000 fewer people by 2056 compared with the current projections of the prevalence of dementia over the next 40 years. This could save more than $120 billion by 2056.



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