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Publication date: 
March 12, 2022


The global burden of dementia is increasing. As diagnosis and treatment rates increase and populations grow and age, additional diagnosed cases will present a challenge to healthcare systems globally. Even modelled estimates of the current and future healthcare spending attributable to dementia are valuable for decision makers and advocates to prepare for growing demand.


We modelled healthcare spending attributable to dementia from 2000 to 2019 and expected estimated future spending from 2020 to 2050 under multiple scenarios. Data were from the Global Burden of Diseases 2019 study and from two systematic literature reviews. We used meta-regression to estimate the fraction of dementia spending that is attributable to dementia for those receiving nursing home-based care and for those receiving community-based care. We used spatiotemporal Gaussian process regression to account for data missingness and model diagnosis and treatment rates, nursing home-based care and community-based care rates, and unit costs for the many countries without their own underlying estimates. Projections of future spending estimate a baseline scenario from 2020 to 2050 based on ongoing growth. Alternative scenarios assessed faster growth rates for dementia diagnosis and treatment rates, nursing home-based care, and healthcare costs. All spending is reported in 2019 United States dollars or 2019 purchasing-power parity-adjusted dollars.


Based on observed and modelled inputs, we estimated that global spending on dementia increased by 4.5% (95% uncertainty interval: 3.4–5.4%) annually from 2000 to 2019, reaching $263 billion (95% uncertainty interval [UI] $199– $333) attributable to dementia in 2019. We estimated total healthcare spending on patients with dementia was $594 billion (95% UI $457–$843). Under the baseline scenario, we estimated that attributable dementia spending will reach $1.6 trillion (95% UI $0.9–$2.6) by 2050. We project it will represent 11% (95% UI 6–18%) of all expected health spending, although it could be as high as 17% (95% UI 10–26%) under alternative scenarios.


Health systems will experience increases in the burden of dementia in the near future. These modelled direct cost estimates, built from a relatively small set of data and linear time trends, highlight the magnitude of health system resources expected to be used to provide care and ensure sufficient and adequate resources for aging populations and their caretakers. More data are needed to corroborate these important trends.


Pedroza Velandia P, Miller-Petrie MK, Chen C, Chakrabarti S, Chapin A, Hay S, Tsakalos G, Wimo A, Dieleman JL. Global and regional spending on dementia care from 2000–2019 and expected future health spending scenarios from 2020–2050: An economic modelling exercise. eClinicalMedicine. 12 March 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101337.