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Public concerns about Alzheimer's disease

Value of Knowing

Alzheimer's disease ranked as a major concern in many countries

The public in five countries were asked about their level of concern about Alzheimer’s disease. When asked to choose from a list of seven diseases the one they were most afraid of getting, about one-fourth of adults in four of the five countries say they most fear getting Alzheimer’s disease. The proportion citing Alzheimer’s disease ranges from 12% in Poland to 27% in France. Fear of getting Alzheimer’s disease is highest among those aged 60 and over (20% to 47%) and lowest among 18-34 year-olds (6% to 22%).

Public Attitudes about what disease they are most afraiod of getting

Additional findings of the survey were:

  • Older people were more likely to say Alzheimer's is the disease they are most afraid of getting

Proportion of public reporting <a href=AD as the disease they are most afraid of getting" title="Proportion of public reporting AD as the disease they are most afraid of getting" />

Finally, the survey revealed:

  • Substantial variation in concern across countries
  • Worries about family even higher than worries about self.

Public worries about getting AD

Family members seen as critical to prividing care

People were asked whom they expected to provide care for them if they should get Alzheimer’s disease: a spouse, a child, another relative, a friend, a hired caregiver, or a caregiver provided by the government or a charity. In three of the five countries, a majority believe that if they had Alzheimer’s disease, a family member would be their primary caretaker. This is most often expected to be a spouse (between 31% in Germany and 45% in the U.S.). Significant minorities (between 16% in Poland and 42% in Germany) expect care to come from a paid caretaker, either hired or arranged through the government or a charitable organization.

Family carers



Last Updated: Wednesday 13 July 2011


  • Acknowledgements

    The Value of Knowing Survey was designed and analysed by the Harvard School of Public Health and Alzheimer Europe, in collaboration with the following national Alzheimer associations: Alzheimer's Association (US), CEAFA (Spain), Deutsche Alzheimer Gesellschaft (Germany), France Alzheimer (France) and the Polish Alzheimer's Association (Poland). The survey was supported by a grant to Alzheimer Europe from Bayer AG. Bayer was not involved in the design of the survey or the analysis of the findings.
  • Deutsche Alzheimer Gesellschaft
  • France Alzheimer
  • Polish Alzheimer's Association
  • Bayer