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Dementia to rise to 1.7m

27th February 2007

One in three people will be affected by dementia by the middle of the century, say experts.

alzheimers1

Researchers at the London School of Economics and Institute of Psychiatry predict that more than 1.7 million people in the UK will have dementia by 2051 costing billions of pounds each year.  As the UK population continues to age so the incidence of dementia is set to rise.  Currently 700,000 people have dementia which is likely to rise to 940,000 by 2021 and 1,735,000 by 2051.  The current costs of dementia, which are often met by relatives, are estimated to be £17bn annually.  Two thirds of those affected have Alzheimer's disease which, says the Alzheimer’s Society, is not adequately provided for on the NHS.

There is no cure for dementia and those with the condition need increasing levels of care as their illness progresses.  Most sufferers are looked after at home by relatives or friends who are also paying the bulk of the estimated £25,472 annual cost of caring for someone with the condition.  Dementia is one of the main causes of disability in old age and affects more people than cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Professor Martin Knapp, from the London School of Economics, said, "This research highlights the desperate need for dementia to be made a national priority. Current levels of services and support for people with dementia and carers are clearly inadequate."

Health Minister, Ivan Lewis, said, "We welcome this important report which raises important issues around the future needs of people with dementia and provides a comprehensive picture of the economic burden of dementia. We have made a strong commitment to improving services for people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia."

 

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