Two new reports, published today by the Alzheimer’s Society, reveal updated statistics about the impact of dementia and make recommendations on how to improve the lives of those affected.
Dementia UK: The Second Edition reveals 835,000 people are affected by dementia in the UK today with this number expected to rise to 850,000 next year. The report puts the economic impact of the condition at £26bn a year, with £5.8bn in social care costs being covered by people with dementia and their carers.
Dementia 2014: Opportunity for Change recommends 14 actions to improve the lives of people with dementia including more ambitious targets for diagnosis, a twelve week period from referral to diagnosis, better post-diagnosis support, a national government dementia strategy beyond 2015 and increased investment for research.
Dr Matt Norton, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:
“Today’s announcements reveal fresh statistics that confirm what we already know, dementia is fast becoming the defining health condition of the 21st century, within the UK and across the world. Dementia affects around 835,000 individuals in the UK today, and countless family members and friends behind that figure. As well as the great personal costs attributed to dementia, the condition has a huge economic impact and it’s clear that more needs to be done to help those affected. Dementia carries a £26bn a year price tag for the UK economy with a significant portion of these costs shouldered by those affected, many of whom may struggle to afford the support they need to live well. People with dementia face many challenges, from securing an accurate diagnosis, to juggling other health conditions, with little respite offered by limited treatments available today.
“We know what a difference effective treatments could make, if we could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and other dementias by five years we could reduce by a third the number of people affected, and save the economy £21 billion.” “Research can deliver, but it’s a herculean task, similar to the one we faced 20 years ago with cancer. This is why Alzheimer’s Research UK has made a commitment to raise £100m for strategic research initiatives over the next five years. Our funding will improve the accuracy of diagnosis, drill down to the root cause of dementias, reveal evidence-based prevention methods and streamline drug discovery efforts towards a cure.”