The number of Australians afflicted with dementia will zoom to almost one million by 2050. That will be double the current official figures of 380,000 Australians suffering from dementia.

The illness is associated with decline in memory, compounded by the reduced ability to think and struggle in performing everyday activities.

The projections were made by researchers at the University of Canberra. According to Professor Laurie Brown of the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, the figures look startling.

However, the positive part will be that the figures touching a million could spur governments and organisations into action towards strategies for checking the illness, reports The ABC.

“The scale of the situation we see with these projections is probably enough to shock people into action, but that’s not why we developed this demographic projection,” she said.

According to Alzheimers Australia, the early signs of the disease are short-term memory and anxiety.

The other symptoms of dementia can include the following.

  • Confusion
  • Changes in personality
  • Apathy and alienation
  • Inability to perform everyday tasks

Alzheimer’s Australia NSW and the National Dementia have jointly set up a helpline for assisting people. They can be contacted at  1800 100 500.

Brown observed that cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can increase as the population ages. The UC study has incorporated a range of risk factors in computing the figures, noted Brown.

“Some of the key risk factors for dementia are the same for cardiovascular disease,” Brown added.

They include mid-life obesity and education. The risk of Alzheimers heightens in early school leavers unlike those with a better education.

Meanwhile, another study noted that dementia cases across the Coffs Coast area in New South Wales may rise alarmingly in the years to come.

According to a joint study by Alzheimer’s Australia and Deloitte Access Economics, Coffs Harbour will see a surge in cases by 122 percent in the next three decades, reports Coffs Coast Advocate.