One in every 20 people aged 65 and over in Taiwan has Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study commissioned by the Department of Health and conducted by the Taiwan Alzheimer’s Disease Association between 2011 and last year.
Forming part of a WHO study, the report, titled Dementia: a public health priority, showed that the prevalence of dementia in people over the age of 60 in East Asia is 4.98 percent.
However, in Taiwan, it was observed that 4.97 percent of people aged 65 and over suffered from dementia — a sharp increase from the 3.38 percent observed 20 years ago, the department said.
Since early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to help slow the progression of the disease, the prevalence of mild cognition impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly population were also investigated in the survey, the department said.
The study showed that 16.04 percent of senior citizens suffered from mild cognition impairment, while 3.17 percent suffered from mild Alzheimer’s, the department added.
“People with mild cognition impairment are 10 times more likely to be affected by Alzheimer’s disease than those who do not have the disorder,” association president Chiu Ming-jang (邱銘章) said.
“So we would recommend a close follow-ups for these people,” Chiu said.
Aside from raising awareness about the need for early intervention to fight the disease, the department said it was planning to develop a pluralistic, community-based network for people living with dementia.
The government provides respite care services, included in a 10-year long-term care program launched in 2008, for caregivers in need of short-term breaks, the department said.