The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could cause a significant rise in the number of people living with dementia, according to a group representing more than 100 Alzheimer’s and dementia associations globally. The increase may result in greater demand for memory care services within long-term care facilities such as memory care communities and skilled nursing facilities.

On Wednesday, London-based Alzheimer’s Disease International called on the World Health Organization and governments around the world to “urgently fast track research on the potential impact of COVID-19 on increasing dementia rates.” The group says the pandemic could cause a significant rise in the number of dementia patients in the long term. Several recent studies have shown that a bout with COVID-19 can cause dementia-like brain changes and related functional decline.

ADI noted that dementia rates in the short term actually may dip as a result of an increase in deaths due to COVID-19. But over the longer term, the number of people living with dementia “could rise significantly due to the neurological impact of COVID-19,” the group told CNBC.