Population Aging and Dementia in an Unequal Country

By: Daniel Jimenez  

Chile has one of the largest proportion of older adults in Latin America and is currently facing an increase in the prevalence of dementia and other non-communicable chronic diseases. Chilean fast population aging has been driven by the increase in life expectancy and the sustained decline in fertility rate during the last decades. The current number of people with dementia in Chile is around 200.000 and it is expected to reach 500.000 by 2050. At the same time, the country has experimented an accelerated economic growth resulting in major inequalities with a significant impact on health and quality of life of the elderly. Inequality in education, health care and income have a direct impact on the risk of dementia. Although recent governmental initiatives have addressed dementia as a national priority, most of the economic, social and emotional costs associated with dementia are still assumed by caregivers and relatives. The aim of this session is to discuss the main challenges posed by a rapidly increase of dementia in a very unequal country. How Chile addresses the modifiable risk factors for dementia and face the health and social needs of people living with dementia in this socioeconomic context is of regional and global interest.

Medical Perspectives on Aging, Health, Wellness
Focused Discussion

Daniel Jimenez

Adjunt Professor of Neurology, Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Chile

My name is Daniel Jiménez, I am a Chilean neurologist currently based in London as part of the UCL Dementia Research Centre. I am supported by a scholarship of the Chilean government to gain clinical and research experience in the field of dementia and cognitive neurology. My future perspective is to go back to Chile and work in my home institutions, the University of Chile and Hospital Salvador, as cognitive neurologist. My aim is to expand the scope of dementia as a public health issue that involves many disciplines. For that reason, I am currently coordinating a group of Chilean researchers in biological and social sciences currently studying in London.