- Mental Health
Dementia Cost to Top 1 Percent of GDP, Threatening Profits
Dementia as an illness is on the rise
The costs associated with dementia born of ageing and diseases like memory loss, disorientation and Alzheimer's will amount to more than 1% of the world's gross domestic product in 2010 at $604 billion, a report says. The governments of the world hired by the international oligarchs are expressing concern over this by way of where is the money going to come from, especially in a depression style economy where poverty is mushrooming. The World Alzheimer Report states that this is more than the revenue of the retail giant Wal-Mart or one of the biggest oil firms, Exxon Mobil. The CEOs of these and others, do not want to be saddled with taxes to pay for the costs despite the fact that the ageing population helped to generate their profits in the first place. The authors of the report say dementia poses the most significant health and social crisis of the century as its global financial burden continues to escalate. People in these conditions require a lot of support and this in a time where support is in decline. They would like the World Health Organization to make dementia a world priority.
Campaigners say more investment in dementia care and research into new treatments is needed. Spending more money now would save nations more money in the future by decreasing the disease burden, they say. A large part of the problem is people living longer, as life expectancy goes up around the world there will be more people who will develop dementia. However, with poverty on the increase, this trend is likely to slow and even reverse. There was a time when working people seldom reached the age of 30 years and that was fine as far as capitalism was concerned as this was long enough to reproduce the next generation of workers. The struggles of the first half of the 20th century are directly responsible for radically increased life expectancy. But the struggles have lost tremendous ground ever since the early 1980s. Since the collapse of the economy in 2008, living standards in the developed world have plummeted in a free fall that continues despite economic growth in China and India.
Instead of support for those who need it in old age, austerity programs being implemented across Europe and soon to come to the US and Canada, pensions are being slashed and retirement age raised. One report suggests that the economic situation in Japan has been a bear market for the last two decades and pensions there are a relic of the past. This appears to be the direction of Europe and N. America as we head deeper into the economic malaise of capitalism. Norway's answer was to elect a large proportion of extreme right wingers into parliament. France's answer was to round up and forcibly deport tens of thousands of immigrant gypsies they no longer needed. Britain is drifting into anti-immigrant hysteria. Since 9-11, the US has become a covert fascist dictatorship that exercises its might in any direction it wants.
To deal with dementia requires that we understand it
In a world filled to overflowing with problems in every conceivable direction and likely some we will soon come to grips with that we are now yet aware, the problem of dementia will need a multifaceted approach in order to solve it to any degree. This can only be done collectively and not in a world divided into profit making camps. The pressure has been on since Reagan's message to the aged: “Drop dead”; to solve the problem by putting the aged down after they are retired or get too sick to manage on their own on the streets. Despite public relations exercises and hand wringing to the contrary, there stands at least one example in contemporary history where the aged were dispatched, and that was during the Katrina event in New Orleans where some hospitals chose to “euthanize” their older patients rather than evacuate them. These patients by the hundreds were injected with a morphine derivative overdose to put them to sleep permanently. The dead were then abandoned when nurses, doctors and interns evacuated. Some of the dead would later wash up in the floods that inundated much of the stricken city. All of this surfaced after the recovery began and missing people had to be accounted for in hospitals where they were not evacuated. The state did it's best to cover this up, but it got out anyway. Just as the solution of the poverty issue lies outside of the profit ledger, so too does the care of the aged in the closing years of life.
Why be concerned with this issue? For millennia, the oncoming generation looked after their ageing parents simply because they had the experience and wisdom having lived in the world so long. They were the repository of knowledge from a life lived and could guide the children who in turn passed this on to their offspring. In the specialization that evolved to the alienation and atomization that makes up today's world, we now look on the aged as old hoddie-doddies who are confused and disoriented; just a burden. The knowledge set of the young today is so radically different from that of their grand-parents, they might as well be from different countries with different languages and customs. Neither can understand the other, unless both take great pains to learn each others, alien to them cultures. For the young, that may be learning how to live in a world without e-games, cell phones and electronic gadgets of all kinds. and for the grand-parent, to learn how to use a computer, e-games and the cell phone with all its apps. Then a common meeting ground can be established. We wonder if many people are up to this task, but it may be necessary for the greater unity needed to change the world where no one is thrown out because of being diseased and obsolete.