Number of people living with dementia

The number of people in the UK with dementia is forecast to double by 2038 to 1.4 million.  Direct costs to the NHS of this are estimated to treble to over £50 billion a year, and wider impacts on society are forecast as people care for family and friends.  Dementia is still poorly understood and carries a great stigma and fear for many. To tackle the increasing needs and demands related to the increase in dementia, the government has recently developed the Living with dementia strategy. Proposals include the introduction of specialist memory services to diagnose dementia, dementia care advisers to signpost people to a range of services and support, and a dementia lead in every general hospital and care home.

What are the implications?

  • Increased needs for help and advice of people with dementia and their friends, families and carers
  • Growing need for all services to be accessible to people with dementia
  • Opportunities for services to support people with dementia to live the best possible quality of life
  • Opportunities for services to support individuals to delay institutionalisation
  • Increased development and use of Biomarkers (new methods for early diagnosis of cognitive decline and dementia)
  • Risk that other mental disorders such as depression and anxiety will become secondary to dementia
  • Opportunities to provide preventative services such as lifelong learning, health and well-being services
  • Risk of older carers suffering through multiple disadvantage

Moving forward

Organisations working with older people will see an increase in people with dementia and their families in need of services and support.  Are the services you provide accessible to people with dementia?  Do you need to make any changes to support the increasing numbers who will need your support?  Are there other local organisations you could work with to provide this support?

Could your organisation provide information and advice as part of early support following diagnosis, or care brokerage for families and carers of people with dementia?

With increasing numbers of people affected, your workforce might be affected: Do you offer support and flexible working packages for people who support and care for friends and family?

Is there scope in your organisation to develop dementia care advisers as a constant source of reference for people with dementia and their carers?

Services such as the NHS might need specialist support, which could offer an opportunity for your organisation to earn income. What partnerships does your organisation already have in place with existing dementia provides? GPs, hospitals and care homes?  Are there others you could develop?

The Living with dementia strategy could offer an opportunity for your organisation to influence local strategies.  How will you identify who the relevant people are and how to access them?

Some services have been shown to slow the decline of people with dementia. Are there services that you already provide that could meet this need?  Are there others you could develop?

Want to know more?

Living well with dementia: A national dementia strategy

Published by: Department of Health



What is it? National strategy on living and supporting people with dementia

How useful is this? The strategy outlines changes forecast on numbers of people living with dementia over the following years, and gives government’s plans to tackle the issues related to this.  It offers a good introduction into these issues and examines ways of dealing with them both by government and more widely in society.

Other comments?


Last updated at 12:35 Mon 19/Oct/09.

Recent comments

Kathryn's picture


Third Sector Foresight

In my experience, caring for someone with dementia is a full time job. I think however flexible an employer is, it is hard for an individual to carry out any level of care for someone with dementia and have a job.
Perhaps an effective way of dealing with this is sabbaticals?

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