OECD Resources on Dementia


Featured Publications


Care Needed: Improving the Lives of People with Dementia

12 June 2018

Across the OECD, nearly 19 million people are living with dementia. Millions of family members and friends provide care and support to loved ones with dementia throughout their lives. Globally, dementia costs over USD 1 trillion per year and represents one of the leading causes of disability for elderly adults. These numbers will continue to rise as populations age. Until a cure or disease-modifying treatment for dementia is developed, the progress of the disease cannot be stopped. This report presents the most up-to-date and comprehensive cross-country assessment of the state of dementia care in OECD countries. In recent years, OECD countries have enhanced their efforts to provide high-quality dementia care during diagnosis, early and advanced dementia, but improving measurement is necessary for enhancements in care quality and outcomes for people with dementia.


Addressing Dementia: The OECD Response

15 March 2015

The large and growing human and financial cost of dementia provides an imperative for policy action. It is already the second largest cause of disability for the over-70s and it costs $645bn per year globally, and ageing populations mean that these costs will grow. Our failure to tackle these issues provides a compelling illustration of some of today’s most pressing policy challenges. We need to rethink our research an innovation model, since progress on dementia has stalled and investment is just a fraction of what it is for other diseases of similar importance and profile.


Dementia Research and Care: Can Big Data Help?

3 February 2015

What potential does “Big Data” hold for finding new approaches to discovering a cure and disease-modifying therapies and to improve social care services for the growing number of people with dementia?

Government leadership and public-private partnerships will be needed to create and sustain big data resources. Key next steps are to create national infrastructures supporting “broad and deep” data; to develop international benchmarks to compare the performance of health systems; and to develop an international pilot project to demonstrate the benefits of linking broad and deep data to dementia research and care.


A Good Life in Old Age

17 June 2013

As ageing societies are pushing a growing number of frail old people into needing care, delivering quality long-term care services – care that is safe, effective, and responsive to needs – has become a priority for governments. Yet much still remains to be done to enhance evidence-based measurement and improvement of quality of long-term care services across EU and OECD countries.

This book offers evidence and examples of useful experiences to help policy makers, providers and experts measure and improve the quality of long-term care services.

Further health-related publications are available here


Free Downloads: Papers and reports

Enhancing Translational Research and Clinical Development for Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias
Read OnlineApril 2015
Accelerating innovation for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is a key challenge. Over the past few years, the OECD has conducted work in a number of areas related to innovation in biomedical research and health innovation for healthy ageing. The workshop aimed to provide an international forum for all stakeholders to drive forward a change in the global paradigm in biomedical research and health innovation for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.


Public-private Partnerships in Biomedical Research and Health Innovation for Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias
Read Online | April 2015
This report is in line with recommendations of the G8 Summit Declaration to strengthen collaboration for innovation and cross-sector partnerships focused on social impact investment, new care and prevention models, and academia/ industry partnerships. 


Big Data for Advancing Dementia Research
Read Online | March 2014
Dementia is increasing in prevalence, and to date has no cure or treatment. One element in improving this situation is using and sharing data more widely to increase the power of research. Further, moving beyond established medical data into big data offers the potential to tap into routinely collected data from both within and outside the health system. In this report, we examine four exemplar data sharing initiatives to better understand data sharing practices in dementia research and recommend the next steps required to move forward, which will require addressing structural issues including aligning incentives and mindsets toward data sharing.


Unleashing the Power of Big Data for Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Research
Read Online | March 2014
This paper reports on the opportunities offered by the informatics revolution and big data. Creating and using big data to change the future of Alzheimer’s and dementia requires careful planning and multi-stakeholder collaboration. Numerous technical, administrative, regulatory, infrastructure and financial obstacles emerge and will need to be hurdled to make this vision a reality.


Workshop on Integrating Omics and Policy for Healthy Ageing: Synthesis Report
Read OnlineJanuary 2014
The increase in the human life span is a testament to the economic, social and medical progress made over the course of the last century. However, an ageing population brings some new challenges both to healthcare systems and to medicine in terms of the increased manifestation of specific diseases primarily seen in the elderly.


Toward New Models for Innovative Governance of Biomedicine and Health Technologies
Read OnlineDecember 2013
This report examines examples of new and emerging governance models that aim to support the responsible development of diagnostics and treatments based on the latest advances in biomedicine. In particular, it presents programmes and initiatives that aim to manage uncertainty in the development and approval of new medical products and thereby to improve the understanding of the risk/benefit balance.


Public Health in an Age of Genomics
Read OnlineAugust 2013
This report presents the findings of a research project to investigate the drivers and criteria shaping the application of genomic biotechnology to health in different national settings, and the barriers to implementation nationally and internationally. A case study approach was adopted for the project.


Emerging Trends in Biomedicine and Health Technology Innovation: Addressing the Global Challenge of Alzheimer's
Read OnlineJune 2013
The economic and social impact of chronic brain disorders (CBD) such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other neurodegenerative diseases will become the number one public-health problem worldwide, directly affecting 100 million people by 2050. On-going demographic trends, namely ageing populations worldwide, are leading to the unprecedented expansion of consumer demand for healthcare services. Healthcare systems worldwide soon will confront a serious crisis as a result of significant growth of the healthcare market, in a climate of shrinking resources.


Health Reform: Meeting the Challenge of Ageing and Multiple Morbidities
June 2011
Managing the transition from a health system oriented around tackling infectious diseases to one which addresses non-communicable or chronic diseases is hard enough. Getting a non-communicable disease is related to lifestyle choices, so health systems need to take prevention more seriously, tackling obesity, lack of physical exercise, harmful use of alcohol, and  tobacco consumption. An emphasis on managing disease, rather than curing it, is necessary so that people can get on with their lives as well as they can, despite their illness.


Policy Issues for the Development and Use of Biomarkers in Health
This report examines the current economic, regulatory, and health care context in which biomarkers are being developed and identifies the barriers which may slow or block the uptake and diffusion of biomarker-based technologies in the clinical setting.


Policies for Healthy Ageing
Read Online | 16 February 2009
This paper reviews policies in the area of healthy ageing. With the ageing of OECD countries’ population over coming decades, maintaining health in old age will become increasingly important. Successful policies in this area can increase the potential labour force and the supply of non-market services to others. They can also delay the need for longer-term care for the elderly. A first section briefly defines what is meant by healthy ageing and discusses similar concepts – such as "active ageing". The paper then groups policies into four different types and within each, it describes the range of individual types of programmes that can be brought to bear to enhance improved health of the elderly. 


Dementia Care in 9 OECD Countries: A Comparative Analysis
Read Online
| 28 July 2004
Dementia and its most common manifestation, Alzheimer’s disease, is a complex disorder that afflicts primarily the elderly, affecting an estimated 10 million people in OECD member countries. The complexity of the disease makes treating dementia extremely difficult, involving a wide variety of social and health care interventions. Typically, these two aspects of dementia care are examined separately. This paper adopts a conceptual model that examines both types of interventions and how they interact along the dementia care continuum.


For general OECD work on dementia

For work on dementia and care

For work on dementia and big data

For work on dementia and innovation


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