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Dementia | The Next Global Contagion
Albert Goldson Albert Goldson
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York, NY
Saturday, December 31, 2022



Lurkingominously like a Nile crocodile just beneath of the surface of the recent worldhealth crisis that has cost millions of human lives and billions in economicdamage, is the inexorable and relentless aging of the world’s population that isbringing its associated socio-economic problems to grossly unpreparedgovernments.

Manyopen-source reports and articles discuss in depth the world’s aging population,particularly in the developed world, and its economic impacts with respect tomedical costs, senior living unaffordability and lower tax revenue to supportthe elderly.

Theother closely intertwined topic is the growing dementia population oftenassociated to Japan whose present-day data and societal struggles are aharbinger for a rapidly growing dementia population in China, Europe and theUS.

Howeverwhat is rarely discussed is the convergence of aging populations with longerlifespans and the greater percentage and rate at which citizens are gettingdementia at a younger age including early on-set dementia.

TheSnail, The Frog, The Rhino and the Canary

Unlikethe recent pandemic or similar epidemic/pandemic contagion which emerges andspreads rapidly, this demographic trend has been moving at a snail’s pace fordecades like the proverbial languid frog relaxing in a pot of slowly boilingwater. What we need is the screeching canary in the coal mine.

NGOsand governments have produced studies on these trends for decades but theirreluctance to implement policies to mitigate the risks represents is theproverbial rhino in the room that no one wants to discuss. Instead other crisisperceived or real) have been conveniently given higher priority.

Therecent pandemic is the perfect alibi to put the aging population/dementia issueon the backburner because of the resource-draining pandemic and the politicalinstability in effectively dealing with future public policy health issues.Navigating the political rubble is the natural result of the socio-economicrubble.

GlobalDemographic Trends

InNovember 2022 according to the UN Population Division the world reached anestimated population of 8 billion. The following chart entitled World Population Reaches 8Billionprovided by the aforementioned organization indicates world population growthwhich has slowed dramatically over the past several decades and is forecast todecline.

 Withrespect to the demographic aging trends, the following chart entitled Where the Aging PopulationProblem is Greatest provided by the Population Reference Bureau, presents a comparativeanalysis of the status of the senior citizen and youth populations.

Finallyan “inconvenient” statistic indicates the following demographic trend for thoseover 60 years old:

Globallythere were 610 million in 2000, 10% of the world’s population. This figure grewto 1.1 billion in 2020 or 14% of the world’s population. The projection is 2.1billion in 2050, 22% of the world’s population.

Furthermore,global life expectancy has increased 16 years – currently 72 years - and infantmortality has dropped 70%.

Insum the world’s population will decline but the elderly population willincrease dramatically.

Thefollowing dynamic chart underscoring this trend is entitled Living Longer provided by UN WorldPopulation Prospects. The dynamic global lifespan trend movement can be accessed through the above link.


ComplicityMeets Plausible Deniability

Medicalscience and Big Pharma have aggressively marketed the concept that, throughtheir never-ending developmental breakthroughs, that the world citizenry canhave their cake and eat it too resulting in a longer and higher quality oflife. Big Pharma is invested heavily in drug development that combat dementiaand obesity. This approach gives the impression that obesity and dementia areinevitable rather than preventable.

Wonderdrugs and technology historically fall far short of the promises made byscientific and government authorities – which are aimed at targeting thesymptoms rather than the causes. It’s like deciding not to fix the car brakesand instead on improving trauma care.

Besides,targeting the causes of dementia goes against Big Pharma’s economic interests aswell as that of their associates such as Big Agriculture and the medicalprofession whose [pun intended] knee-jerk reaction to a patient’s poor labresults is often to give more prescriptions.

Theever-increasing obesity (even being merely overweight), sedentary lifestyle andpoor nutrition through increasingly processed foods accelerate any number ofcognitive issues and trigger a cluster of other associated health problemsrequiring home or professional care at a younger age. This trend of earlieron-set dementia, soon to become an epidemic and then a contagion, is that itdeleteriously impacts everyone and everything.

Finallywe still won’t know the long-term effects of “long Covid” problems that may debilitateand push more people out of the workforce. Such problems as “brain fog” andphysical disabilities have unknown long-term impacts.

ProfessionalProductivity Degradation

Economicallythis results in a worker shortage for those who decide to leave the workplaceto take care of family members because they can’t afford the present-day andrising costs of assisted living and nursing homes.

Thedark under-reported and anecdotal trends are that more people are suffering from cognitiveproblems earlier in life and forcing formerly productive workers to leave theworkplace far earlier than they had planned.

Moreseriously this impacts critical professions requiring certain levels of skillfor safety and security namely medical professionals, engineers, equipmentoperators, pilots and truck drivers covering a wide swath of importantprofessions.

Althoughthey may be cognitively impaired to the point of being unable to perform highskill jobs, they’ll have to settle for considerably lower-risk and low-payingjobs requiring little skill not because of a collapsing economy rather due tocognitive degradation.

DemographicPincer Movement

Addingfuel to a severe skilled labor shortage are two powerful disturbing trendsrepresenting a demographic pincer movement in severely reducing skilled labor:

·       Firstly, America’s poor education system, the multi-generation trend of“dumbing down”, and prohibitive cost of higher education are considerablyreducing young people from acquiring the knowledge to train for skilled work.This is confirmed through the dramatic drop in learning scores exacerbated bythe pandemic lockdown.

·       Secondly is the wave of retirement by the Baby Boomer generation whoseyoungest members of this demographic were born in 1964 and will be retiring in2029 (assuming age 65) if not already.

Forthis reason many industries are lowering their standards to accept workers, mostnotably the US military that is now accepting recruits with attention deficithyperactivity disorder (ADHD) without a waiver.

Witha far larger percentage of young people on medication for mental health issues,the challenge of filling skilled positions particularly with respect to safety& security becomes difficult.


Thefollowing chart entitled The Threat of DecliningWorking Age Populations provided by the OECD confirms the rapidly growing gap between workingage citizenry and retirees/old age cannot cover the gap. One may not qualifyfor retirement but their cognitive abilities to be productive at work or forcedto leave the workforce early and retire represents an enormous economic burden.

WorldTour of Growing Dementia

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are 55 million people worldwide with dementia with projections to 78 million by 2030 and 139 million by 2050 which correlates to an aging population.

Present-dayEurope, the Old World getting older, has one of the world’s oldestdemographics, along with long lifespans is on the road to face crisis. Thefollowing chart entitled Europe is Facing a DementiaProblemprovided by the Organization for Economic and Co-Operation and Development (OECD)indicates by country.


Japan| Land of the “Sun Downing”?

“SunDowning” refers to when an elderly person with mild dementia behaves normallyduring the day but suffers from temporary confusion and disorientation late inthe day, often at sunset.

Themainstream media has reported on Japan’s aging population and socio-economicconsequences because it’s one of the most rapidly aging and oldest populationin the world.

Here’sa quick reference list of Japan’s dementia road to perdition exacerbated bytheir socio-political reluctance to attract young immigrants in the workforce:

·       28% of the Japanese population is 65 years or older.

·       2.4 million Japanese are over 90 years old

·       There are 70,000 Japanese centenarians

·       Japan’s 5 million citizens (4% of population) have dementia, the highestpercentage globally.

·       Japan has already established dementia villages and even robots toentertain the aged.

·       Plunging replacement figures (2.1 babies required for population replenishment),aging population and longer lifespans.

·       Several years ago more adult diapers were sold than baby diapers.

China| Kowtowing Closely Behind Japan

Chinais about 10 years behind with respect to matching Japan’s level of ademographic/dementia crisis. At a lecture presentation entitled “China’s AgingPopulation Challenges & Strategies”, 16 December 2019 at ColumbiaUniversity, School of Public Health, the following data on China’s demographiccrisis was presented:


Agingcosts to GDP today are 9.5% projected to increase to 21.3% in 2035 and 23.65%in 2040 and then 28.24% in 2050, the equivalent of EU member states.


From1949 to 2018 the life expectancy increased from 35 to 77 with averages in the80s in major cities. There are more than 40 million senior citizens who aretotally or partially disabled.


·       Men retire at 60

·       Female factory workers retire at 50

·       Female public sector and white-collar workers retire at 55

 Withlonger lifespans and the aforementioned retirement ages, China will run into aserious economic crunch caring for the elderly as follows:


Withrespect to health care China averages 2.5 nurses per 1,000 citizens which ishalf the world average despite having the world’s second largest economy.

Proportionof medical expenses for the elderly in GDP

2020– 2.34%

2030– 3.86%

2050– 6.38%

By 2030 older adults will bear 67% of the total disease burden.

Finallythe unspeakable mental health issue of the elderly fending for themselveswithout family and possibly little state aid and facilities to care for them inthis chart:


Elderly without spousemillions)

Elderly with only oneliving child

Elderly without livingchildren














Theaforementioned convergence of demographic and economic trends is already havingan impact on the quality of life, notably and ironically in the world’s wealthiestcountries. More ominously the impacts of these trends will inevitably acceleratebefore the end of the decade compelling governments to create, by “default ordesign”, a new socio-political paradigm based on draconian economic andsecurity policies.

© Copyright 2023 Cerulean CouncilLLC


The Cerulean Council is aNYC-based think-tank that provides prescient, beyond-the-horizon, contrarianperspectives and risk assessments on geopolitical dynamics and global urbansecurity.

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