– Increase in dementia requires more social investment says Nesta Impact Investments
– New report identifies four areas where social investment can play a role in funding new products and services for those affected by the condition
With dementia diagnosis rising, more people becoming carers and public funding forecast to be cut over the next ten years, Nesta Impact Investments is calling for increased investment for social innovations that support those living with or affected by the condition.
The new Care Act that comes into force on April 1st will see 230,000 more care assessments in the UK each year1. By 2025 it is estimated that 1.1million people will be deemed as living with dementia, compared with 850,000 today2. This increase is against a backdrop of local authority health care cuts of 30 percent3.
In Remember Me: Improving quality of life for people with dementia and their carers through impact investment, researchers interviewed policy experts, analysed existing research on effective interventions and assessed ten social ventures to see how impact investment – investing for a social and financial return – can plug the funding gap. The report acknowledges that while government pays for the essentials of health and social care and private investment for drug discovery, social investors can help fund new products and services to improve the day to day management of dementia and wellbeing of patients and carers.
Nesta Impact Investments identifies four key areas where social investment can play a major role and details examples of entrepreneurs and innovations already operating in this space:
- Support navigating the system: There is a wealth of information available but technology can play a part in personalising information and supporting people to access it at the right moment. This could include local authorities, individuals and carers, and corporates looking to support staff affected by dementia, totalling four million people.
- Help with independent living: Support with independent living can help reduce avoidable accidents such as falls and slow the onset of the condition – alleviating some common symptoms and stress. Technology has a significant role to play but is immature and still developing such as GPS tracking devices and movement sensors. Rather than a replacement it can help make care more efficient and responsive.
- Effective and accessible non-pharmacological therapy: Group therapies, sensory stimulation, reminiscence therapy and verbal skills can improve the wellbeing of those diagnosed with dementia and act as a preventive tool for older people at risk of developing the condition. Such psychological therapies could be of benefit to as many as 1.5million people with care homes and formal care providers likely to find these valuable.
- Carer support: Online platforms and apps have a role in helping to reduce the burden on carers and improve their health and wellbeing. Tools that allow carers to coordinate care and provide information and training in certain areas, such as psychological therapies, could benefit the 670,000 people in the UK estimated to be informal carers of people with dementia.
The report flags that innovators, investors, policymakers and charities and healthcare professionals each have a part to play in helping to evidence those products and services that are most effective and helping them develop and scale.
Katie Mountain, Impact Investment Associate at Nesta Impact Investments, comments: “Dementia is one of the most challenging issues facing the UK population. Our report reveals that impact investment can fund a new wave of social innovations that are helping to improve the management of the condition and quality of life for people and carers. We hope this report acts as a blueprint for investors and innovators to focus on developing and scaling even more effective services and products.”