Societal Challenges

Redefine retirement by curing or preventing dementia

May 3, 2016
By Sally Greengross

Curing or preventing dementia has the potential to save trillions and greatly improve retirement for all.

To reinvent retirement for the 21st century we will have to solve the principal health challenges that act as barriers to active aging later in life and that force employees to leave the workplace early. Chief among these health concerns is dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, which, due to its near perfect correlation with age, is on track to becoming the fiscal nightmare of our time, impacting individuals, families, and governments. Although we are improving care, the need for a cure is even more crucial as the number of those living over the age of 85 increases, an age group that has a 50% chance of getting dementia. The global annual cost of dementia as of 2015 is estimated to be $818bn, which is more than 1% of the world’s GDP, and the cost of the condition will rise to $2tn by 2030. The fears, costs and consequences of dementia must be overcome if we are going to truly thrive after the age of 60.

It will be crucial to have a massive global effort that involves cross-sector collaboration and innovative partnerships to foster ground-breaking ideas and developments in the prevention, treatment and cure of this disease. We must approach this as an enemy to be defeated that will require a global, dedicated alliance.

Sally Greengross

About the author

Sally Greengross
The Baroness Greengross OBE, House of Lords, Parliament of the UK

Baroness Sally Greengross has been a crossbench (independent) member of the House of Lords since 2000 and co-chairs five All-Party Parliamentary Groups: Dementia, Corporate Social Responsibility, Intergenerational Futures, Continence Care and Ageing and Older People. She is the Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Choice at the End of Life, and is Treasurer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Equalities. Greengross is Chief Executive of the International Longevity Centre – UK; Co-President of the ILC Global Alliance; and was a Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission from 2006-12.