The graphic illustrating the dementia situation was a reminder of the importance of creating a foundation of good health to cut the risk of devastating mental deterioration as we age.
The figure of 50 million worldwide is forecast to triple to 152 million by 2050, representing nearly 10 million new cases per year, or one every 3 seconds.
In Thailand, about 600,000 people had Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia, in 2015 – a figure expected to double to well over 1 million by 2030.
Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, doing intellectually stimulating activities, interacting socially and sleeping well will lower your risk of developing dementia. But managing stress is also key, which means the elderly should not be left alone or abandoned.
Thai society is rapidly ageing, but rather than viewing our seniors as a burden, we should see them for what they are: the country’s “brain treasury”, a store of knowledge and wisdom to be passed on to the next generation. We neglect this rich resource at our peril.