• dementia;
  • costs;
  • utilization;
  • long-term care;
  • ADL



Dementia is expected to become a significant social burden in the future. However, there are few reports that have estimated the total economic cost of dementia, particularly according to the limitation in the activities of daily living (ADL) in Korea.


This study is to analyze the health care expenditures and cost per dementia patient, and estimated the total economic cost of dementia.


Caregivers of 609 dementia patients, who were randomly selected from a nationwide claim database of the Korean National Health Insurance Corporation, were interviewed using structured questionnaire in the period of September 2005. The total cost including the direct and indirect costs during a year was calculated. The patients were stratified into three limitation groups according to their ADL score. The cost according to the three limitation groups was analyzed. The national cost of dementia patients was then estimated.


The total cost per dementia patient in Korea was $7,462. The direct and indirect costs were $6,626 and $836 per patient, respectively. The cost increased with increasing degree of limitation in the patient's ADL. Over a 1-year period, the total cost per patient in the low limitation group was lower ($3,698) than that of the moderate ($6,064) and high ($11,428) limitation group.


This study demonstrates that the direct and indirect costs of dementia are considerately small for patients with lower limitation in their ADL. The total economic cost of dementia per year was estimated to be in the range of 1.3 to 3.3 billion dollars on assumptions in Korea. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.