dementia care funding report Alzheimer's Society

Coinciding with the launch of its manifesto, a new report commissioned by Alzheimer’s Society predicts the total cost of dementia will rise substantially to £94.1 billion by 2040.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, the direct cost of dementia care is currently £15.7 billion, however, the total cost of dementia, including costs to NHS, social care costs and unpaid care, has soared to £34.7 billion.

The research, undertaken by the London School of Economics and Political Science, suggests that whilst the number of people with dementia in the UK is expected to nearly double to 1.6 million people by 2040, the direct cost of dementia care will almost triple to £45.4 billion.

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Examining the potential cost of dementia to the entire UK economy, the report projects a total cost of £94.1 billion in the next 20 years.

“The cost of dementia care is too much for an individual to bear. It should be spread between us – just like schools, the NHS and other public services.” Jeremy Hughes

In particular, the study notes that an increasingly ageing UK population will lead to a higher proportion of people living with dementia for longer and requiring higher care, driving up the average amount spent on care.

Highlighting that £9 billion a year (57 percent) in social care costs fall on people with dementia and their families, the report echoes previous research by the national dementia charity signifying someone with dementia typically has to spend £100,000 on their care.

The research also reports that families are providing £13.9 billion a year in unpaid care for people with dementia, which will increase to £35.7 billion by 2040.

“Dementia is heartbreaking for families. It’s not right that those going through it have to battle to get the care they need on top of battling the disease,” said Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society.

“From the working mum struggling to find hundreds of pounds every week to ‘top-up’ her mum’s council-funded care home place, to the woman who had to sell her home of 50 years to pay for her husband’s care – families affected by dementia are already at breaking point. With costs set to treble in the next two decades, how on earth will they cope?”

Alzheimer’s Society released the figures as it launched its election manifesto, ‘Demanding Action on Dementia,’ which calls on all political parties ahead of the general election to commit to addressing disparities in dementia care.

Demanding dementia care is funded like other public services, such as the NHS and education, the national charity says the costs should be shared across society, protecting individuals and families from the costs of specialist dementia care.

“The cost of dementia care is too much for an individual to bear,” added Jeremy.

“It should be spread between us – just like schools, the NHS and other public services.”

In its manifesto, the dementia charity has set out three commitments it wants from the next government: radical reform to dementia care, assurance of community inclusivity for people with dementia, and a closing of the research funding gap between dementia and other disease areas.

“Every party must go into this election with a solid plan to radically reform dementia care. Families in crisis need action, and they need it now,” stated the Alzheimer’s Society.

The announcement of the general election on the 12th December has led to a number of third sector organisations to call on the next government to address various areas in the health and social care sector. Last week, the British Medical Association warned the NHS was set to face its worst winter on record as it released its manifesto.

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