Cognitive decline is feared by many as they approach old age. Yet the severe cognitive decline associated with dementia is not a normal part of ageing. In Australasia, the prevalence of dementia in those aged 60 and over is less than 7% (Alzheimer’s Disease International, 2015). Nevertheless, the personal and economic costs associated with dementia are considerable, and due to Australia’s ageing population, an increasing number of Australians require treatment and exit the workforce due to cognitive impairments.
So, how do we combat this? How do we lower the risks or delay the development of dementia, and design care and treatment interventions that reduce the personal and economic costs of the disease?
This research brief explores the impacts of cognitive ageing and decline on individuals, as well as on the wider Australian economy. The brief emphasises how cognitive impairment is a significant barrier to those over sixty staying in the workforce and managing their finances properly. The brief also discusses the current and proposed future ways to diagnose and prevent cognitive impairment before it becomes severe.