More than every third German becomes demented

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Nursing Report 2010: More than one in three Germans will become demented: Dementia will increase significantly in the future.

More than one in three Germans suffers from dementia in the course of their lives - and the trend is rising sharply. In the course of demographic change and the associated aging of the population, the number of dementias has increased significantly in recent years, with considerable consequences for health and nursing care insurance.

Dementia-related illnesses are increasing in men and women. The Barmer-GEK's 2010 Nursing Report shows that 58 percent of men and 76 percent of women must expect to become confused with age and in need of care in the course of their lives. With the rise in dementia diseases, the health and long-term care insurance companies are experiencing significant cost increases, which according to the numbers in the nursing report threaten to push the health system to the limits of its resilience. As part of the 2010 Care Report, the Center for Social Policy at the University of Bremen, on behalf of the Barmer GEK, analyzed the data of insured persons who died in 2009 over the age of 60. The scientists came to the conclusion that in the past 29 percent of men and 47 percent of women were already demented at the time of their death.

The general need for care has increased massively in recent years due to the growing number of older people, the conclusion of the care report. The higher the age, the greater the likelihood of becoming confused, forgetful, frail and in need of care, explained the scientists at the University of Bremen. For example, among the deceased male GEK insured, the proportion of those who received nursing care before their death increased from around 40 percent in 2001 to 47 percent in 2009. Care services were also used more frequently for women in the same period, which corresponds to an increase from 60 to 67 percent. Overall, more than every second person in the course of their lives is dependent on care services, according to the care report.

The number of people suffering from dementia will double by 2060. According to the scientists in the 2010 Nursing Report, around 1.2 million people in Germany are currently suffering from dementia, although the number of diseases, according to experts, will increase significantly in the next few years. The researchers at the University of Bremen assume that 1.8 million people with dementia will be living in Germany by 2030 and that the number will increase to 2.5 million by 2060. According to the scientists, the numbers result directly from demographic change or the fact that more and more people are reaching an older age. With the forecast development, the proportion of dementia patients in the total population will more than double within the next 50 years - from currently 1.5 percent to 3.8 percent in 2060, according to the nursing report. "It really concerns us all," emphasized study author Heinz Rothgang from the University of Bremen. Because the costs associated with the increasing number of dementia diseases will put the health system to a significant test.

Two thirds of dementia patients need care and the care costs for dementia patients are 10,000 euros higher annually than for non-demented patients, explained Heinz Rothgang. According to the forecasts of the nursing report, costs could rise in the double-digit billion range in the next 50 years. Rolf-Ulrich Schlenker, Vice President of the Barmer GEK, was also alarmed by the results of the 2010 Nursing Report: "The figures show an uncomfortable scenario."

Criticism of the planned nursing care reform The study author Heinz Rothgang explained that based on the current study results, a deficit in the area of ​​nursing care insurance can be expected as early as 2012 or at the latest in 2013. According to the experts, the nursing reform announced by the Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler (FDP) for the coming year will not help either. In any case, Schlenker and Rothgang went to court with the plans of the Union and the FDP and criticized the planned introduction of private supplementary insurance, which is to be anchored as a new capital pillar in long-term care insurance, financed by additional premiums. This planned establishment of a capital pillar in long-term care insurance does not bring any direct financial relief and does not address future problems, Rothgang and Schlenker explained unanimously. Instead, the two experts favored a further general increase in premiums to compensate for the explosion in costs for long-term care insurance. (fp)

Also read:
Dementia and Alzheimer's
Dementia is becoming a widespread disease
Age dementia is on the rise in Germany
Alzheimer's: Vitamin B can prevent dementia
Men are more often affected by memory loss

Image: Rainer Sturm /

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