Prevalence and Costs

While there are  limitations attached to arriving at dementia prevalence estimates, estimates of the current and future prevalence of dementia provide useful information for planning effective health and social care services and for raising awareness about dementia at a national level. Similarly, limitations arise with regard to estimating costs of dementia, but estimating such costs are equally important to inform national level decision-making around the (re)allocation of resources for dementia care.

It is notable that all published articles on prevalence and costs of dementia on the island of Ireland relate to ROI. 

Estimating the economic and social costs of dementia in Ireland

CONNOLLY, S., GILLESPIE, P., O'SHEA, E., CAHILL, S., PIERCE, M.
England)
2014

Connolly et al. (2014) using a cost of illness studies approach provide an estimate of the social and economic costs of dementia in ROI.

The total cost of dementia is estimated to be €1.69bn per annum, 48% of which can be attributed to costs of informal care provided by family and friends to people with dementia living in the community. Another 43% is attributed to long-stay residential care with only 9% of the total costs attributed to formal health and social care costs. The results are broadly in line with international studies. The study highlights the significant costs associated with dementia in ROI and the very heavy burden that falls on the family caregivers. 

The effects of dependence and function on costs of care for Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment in Ireland

GILLESPIE, P., O'SHEA, E., CULLINAN, J., LACEY, L., GALLAGHER, D., NI MHAOLAIN, A.
International journal of geriatric psychiatry
2012

Gillespie et al.

(2012) using data from the Enhancing Care in Alzheimer’s Disease (ECAD) study estimate the costs of formal and informal care for a sample of people with Alzheimer’s disease and amnestic and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) living in the community in ROI over a six month period. They then undertook a multivariate statistical analysis to explore the effects of dependence and function on costs of care.  They found that dependence and function of a person with dementia were both independently associated with the total cost of formal and informal care. As dependence on others increased, total costs increased. Conversely, an improvement in patient function led to a decline in the total cost of care. 

Informal cost of dementia care - a proxy-good valuation in Ireland

TRÉPEL, D.
Economic and Social Review
2011

Trepel (2011) focuses on the informal costs of dementia care and uses a proxy-good valuation method. Survey data gathered by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland to assess the dynamics of informal dementia care is used.

Data on minimum and maximum hours provided in informal care in early, mid and late stages of dementia are presented, to which a general replacement value is applied. The results show that dementia care places a substantial demand on informal carers, with costs increasing with dementia progression. The study highlights the high costs of replacing an informal carer full-time, and the importance of targeting interventions for carers to minimise carer burnout.    

Planning dementia services: new estimates of current and future prevalence rates of dementia for Ireland

PIERCE, M., CAHILL, S., O'SHEA, E
Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine
2013

Pierce et al. (2013) present estimates on the prevalence of dementia at a national and local level for ROI based on the application of European prevalence rates to Census of Population data for 2006.

Future projections of dementia were also calculated using population projections available from the Central Statistics Office. The estimates are that there were 41,740 people with dementia in ROI in 2006 and that the prevalence of dementia is expected to double over the next twenty years. Although there are limitations to such estimates, the data are useful for planning purposes and for awareness about dementia.