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Memory disorders Dementia cases on the rise

With its ageing population, Switzerland can expect a boom in the number of dementia patients.

With its ageing population, Switzerland can expect a boom in the number of dementia patients.

(Keystone)

Statistics show far more people with dementia in Switzerland than previously thought, with the number expected to more than double over the next 25 years. 

In 2016, some 144,000 people living in Switzerland had a form of dementia, according to new numbers from the non-profit organisation Alzheimer Switzerlandexternal link. Last year, the group estimated that it was “only” about 120,000, based on information from the Federal Statistical Office, which had put the figure at 110,000 in November 2016.

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Now, using figures from the statistical office as well as Alzheimer Europeexternal link, Alzheimer Switzerland believes that there will be about 300,000 cases by 2040.

The expected increase in dementia cases is largely due to Switzerland’s ageing population, which is one of the oldest  on the planet with a median age of 42.1. 

The group says that about 60% of dementia patients live at home and that some 430,000 relatives are coping with their care, along with another 430,000 professional caretakers. Yet Alzheimer Switzerland says that fewer than half of the people with dementia in Switzerland are formally diagnosed. 

“Targeted treatment, counselling, support and advance planning are only possible with a diagnosis. There’s an urgent need for early detection!” the organisation states on its website. It continues that if no effective treatment is discovered by 2045, there could be anywhere from 314,000 to 351,000 people suffering from dementia at that time.

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