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2,800 living with dementia in Stratford district - and hundreds more expected by 2040

THE Alzheimer’s Society is calling on the government to make dementia a priority and to provide more funding to diagnose the condition.

During Dementia Action Week, which runs until 19th May, the problems with the UK’s healthcare system, which leave many families footing the bill for diagnosis, are being highlighted.

The society says just 1.4 per cent of dementia healthcare costs are spent on diagnosis and treatment, with families shouldering 63 per cent of the costs.

In Stratford district, there are currently 2,800 living with dementia and this is expected to increase to 4,100 by 2040 as people live longer and the population increases.

Alzheimer's Society wants more funding for diagnostics.
Alzheimer's Society wants more funding for diagnostics.

The cost of providing care, in our district alone, in 2024 will be about £119 million. This will rise to £259 million by 2040.

Based on recent projections, there are currently around one million people living with dementia in the UK. By 2040, that will be 1.4 million people.

As dementia progresses, the average cost per person rises significantly, from £28,700 per year for mild dementia, to £80,500 per year for severe dementia.

In the current funding system, an individual with dementia spends an average of around £100,000 on their care over their lifetime. Dementia care is on average 15 per cent more expensive to deliver than standard social care.

Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer and almost one million people are living with the condition, yet a third of people affected have not received a diagnosis. Despite the evidence of benefits of an early and accurate dementia diagnosis, spending on diagnosis and treatment makes up less than 1.4 per cent of the total health care expenditure.

The majority of costs come from social care (40 per cent) and unpaid care (50 per cent). The charity says the lack of an early diagnosis means that families are left to pick up the pieces and results in catastrophic costs further down the line.

Judith King, Alzheimer’s Society head of local services for the West Midlands, said: “One in three people born today will develop dementia. It’s the biggest health and social care issue of our time, yet it isn’t the priority it should be amongst decision-makers.

We wouldn’t accept this for any other terminal disease, we shouldn’t accept this for dementia. One in three people with dementia never receive a diagnosis. They are facing dementia alone without access to vital care, support, and treatments. If we don’t address diagnosis, we have no hope of addressing the major dementia challenges we face and reducing the cost to the health service and wider economy.

“Dementia’s devastating im-pact is colossal – on the lives of those it affects, on the healthcare system and on the economy. Now is the time to prioritise dementia, and that starts with getting more people diagnosed.”

The charity says a timely and accurate diagnosis gives people with dementia access to the vital care, support and treatment they need. However, lack of awareness, fragmented health and sAocial care systems and workforce issues remain barriers to diagnosis.

Alzheimer’s Society is calling on the government to increase access to early and accurate dementia diagnosis to help families avoid reaching costly, avoidable crisis point.

To find out more visit www.alzheimers.org.uk.

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