Number of patients with dementia expected to double by 2035

The Expertise Centre for Dementia in Flanders and the Alzheimer Liga have calculated that the number of people with dementia will have climbed by 42.7 percent in about 15 years' time. In certain local municipalities in the countryside, this number could increase with 90 percent. The main reason is that people are getting older. Both illnesses are typical for elderly patients. 

In absolute figures, the number in the Flemish Region is estimated at 131,818 for 2018. For 2035, estimations are talking about 188,183. In certain municipalities in the countryside such as Limburg's Zutendaal (+92.7%) or Opglabbeek (+91%), or in Pepingen in Flemish Brabant (+83.5%) the hike is very outspoken. In big cities, the rise is often less spectacular. 

The Expertise Centre and the Alzheimer Liga are calling for extra measures, and fast. On the eve of October's local elections, they are launching a new appeal: "Dementia has a big local dimension, as 70 percent of the people nursing dementia are living at home". 

The local level has a major role to play in helping patient to cope. Measures are needed, and fast

"It's a new trend that elderly are staying in their own home for a longer time now. But in that case we need to make sure that they can keep their place in society as long as possible, and the local level has a major role to play in this respect," says Jurn Verschraegen of the Expertise Centre. Municipalities should help prevent that people get isolated by spreading enough information and by countering mobility problems.