Facts for the media about dementia

Key facts and statistics on dementia and other dementia related topics can be found here.

Alzheimer’s Society has produced a symptoms checklist, endorsed by the Royal College of GPs, to support people to get a vital diagnosis.

There are many types of dementia but Alzheimer’s disease is the most common. The next most common is vascular dementia

What is dementia?

Dementia is a group of symptoms. It’s caused by different diseases that damage the brain. The symptoms get worse over time and include:

  • memory loss
  • confusion and needing help with daily tasks
  • problems with language and understanding
  • changes in behaviour.

How many people in the UK have dementia?

A report in 2019, commissioned by Alzheimer’s Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), set out estimates for the number of people with dementia and the cost of dementia care in the UK with projections to 2040.

The report found there are currently around 900,000 people with dementia in the UK. This is projected to rise to 1.6 million people by 2040.

209,600 people will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes.

It is estimated that 70 per cent of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems. It is estimated that 60 per cent of people who draw on support from homecare are people living with dementia.

There are over 42,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK. This is known as young-onset dementia.

More than 25,000 people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in the UK are affected by dementia.

How many people in the world have dementia?

There are 55 million people living with dementia around the globe. It is estimated that this number will rise to 139 million by 2050.

How much does dementia cost in the UK?

Unpaid carers supporting someone with dementia save the UK economy £14.6 billion a year. This will rise to £35.7 billion in 2040.

The total cost of care for people with dementia in the UK is £36.7 billion. This is set to rise sharply over the next two decades, to £94.1 billion by 2040.

The cost of social care for people with dementia is set to nearly treble by 2040, increasing from £16.9 billion to £45.4 billion.

Dementia is one of the main causes of disability later in life, ahead of cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Is there a cure for dementia?

There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease or any other type of dementia.

Research will beat dementia. It's an exciting time with 143 drugs in trials for Alzheimer's disease - 117 of them aiming to slow down the progression of the disease.

Lecanemab is a drug for Alzheimer's disease which was shown to slow down the changes in thinking and memory people experience - it's not yet available in the UK.

Dementia research is desperately underfunded. There are not enough dementia researchers or clinicians.

While new treatments are being developed with increasing speed, they are not coming quickly enough for people affected by dementia now.

We are at a tipping point in dementia research – we have made huge progress in recent years, but this could grind to a halt without investment.

The National Dementia Mission - the doubling of dementia research funding - must be delivered urgently. This crucial investment must boost research for all types of dementia so no one is forgotten. 

What does Alzheimer’s Society do to support dementia research?

Alzheimer’s Society is a powerful force for change for everyone affected by dementia.

Alzheimer’s Society’s funded research aims to improve diagnosis, develop new treatments, and improve care and support for people living with dementia. Since we started funding research in 1989, we have invested over £85 million in over 600 research projects. 

As a founding funder of the UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI), Alzheimer's Society remains a proud funding partner of the Institute.

Alzheimer's Society's research led by Sir Joh Hardy over 30 years ago discovered the importance of amyloid protein in Alzheimer's disease. It laid the foundations for billions of pounds of investment into many of the drugs like lecanemab, with 117 other drugs currently in trials.

How can you contact Alzheimer's Society?

Contact Alzheimer's Society's Dementia support line for information, support and advice about dementia. You can call a Dementia Adviser on 0333 150 3456.

For non-English speakers

If you speak Welsh, call our Welsh-speaking support line on 03300 947 400.

For callers who do not have English as their language of choice, we can arrange a simultaneous language translation service.

Please call our English-speaking support line on 0333 150 3456, say the English word for the language you would like to use, end the call and wait. An interpreter will usually call you back within five minutes.

For people with speech or hearing difficulties

If you have speech or hearing difficulties and have a textphone or an adapted computer, you can use Text Relay to call our English-speaking Dementia Connect support line on 18001 0300 222 1122.

More information on contacting Alzheimer's Society is available on our Contact us page.


How to contact Alzheimer’s Society’s press team

For further information, please contact the national or regional media teams.

Contact the press office
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