About dementia & Alzheimer's disease

Dementia & Alzheimer's

Dementia is a group of cognitive, life-limiting symptoms that progressively damage the brain, often leading to the gradual decline in a person’s memory, function and behaviour.1

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia,1 accounting for between 50-to-70 per cent of all dementia cases.1 It is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that attacks brain cells and neurotransmitters, affecting brain function, memory, and behaviour.2

Up to one-in-10 Australians over 65 years of age and up to 30 per cent of those aged 85 years and above are living with Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2018, there is estimated to be more than 425,416 Australians living with dementia, and this number is expected to rise.3 Dementia is Australia’s second leading cause of disability burden and a growing public health issue.4 The prolonged nature of the disease incurs a significant impact on the general population.4

Since 2002, the cost of dementia to Australia has increased by $7.65 billion, totalling $14.25 billion in 2016. The significant economic burden of the disease is, in part, due to the rising costs of medical expenses, such as hospitalisations, GP and specialist appointments, and pharmaceuticals, as well non-medical costs, such as home care and transportation.

To learn more about dementia, download our fact sheets or call 1800 180 023 to obtain a hard copy via post. Visit our Dementia Library for further information.


1. Alzheimer’s Queensland. Types of Dementia? Fact sheet. 2017. Available at: https://www.alzheimersonline.org/page/dementia-facts/types-of-dementia/ [Last accessed August 2018].
2. Alzheimer’s. 2017. Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/alzheimers-disease [Last accessed August 2018].
3. 2017. Economic Cost ­­­­of Dementia in Australia 2016-2056.
4. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2017. Dementia and death in Australia. Available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/3303.0~2015~Main%20Features~Dementia~10002 [Last accessed August 2018].

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