Our position on key dementia challenges
Learn about our policy work and what we stand for on a wide range of issues related to dementia. We share the changes we want to see and what we're doing to make a difference.
What we think about...
Getting a diagnosis can enable people living with dementia to plan for the future and gain access to care, symptomatic treatments, information, advice and opportunities to participate in dementia research. 91% of the people Alzheimer’s Society surveyed, in 2022, said they benefitted from getting a dementia diagnosis.
Yet over 300,000 people in England, Scotland and Wales do not have a diagnosis. This leaves them and their families at risk of crisis, such as unplanned hospitalisation, which can have an adverse effect on their health and wellbeing, as well as the wider health and social care system.
We need to see clear action on:
- Recovering diagnosis rates to pre-pandemic levels and beyond, including setting a more ambitious target than 66.7% (currently England only) across the three nations.
- Improving the quality, accuracy and timeliness of a dementia diagnosis. All diagnosis should include information on dementia subtype, i.e. whether an individual has Alzheimer's disease or another type like vascular dementia.
- A reduction in regional variation and inequalities in diagnosis, with a focus on underserved communities, with appropriate support for local systems to deliver on a diagnosis rate target.
Only research has the potential to rapidly revolutionise how people with dementia are diagnosed, supported, and cared for, and is instrumental in working towards a cure. However, dementia research in the UK has been historically underfunded, hampering vital efforts that could support our health and social care system to respond to one of society's biggest healthcare challenges of our time.
We need to see clear action in the following areas:
- Investing in the research, development, and the implementation of new diagnostic techniques will support people living with dementia to receive an early and accurate diagnosis, so they can access disease modifying treatments.
- The Government's recent investment in research needs to lead to increased participation of people living with dementia, by addressing the associated barriers and inequalities.
- Targeted funding and support for early career dementia researchers.
With no current cure for dementia, quality social care is a lifeline to people with dementia and their families, with many people drawing on social care to support them in their daily lives. However, social care has been underfunded and neglected by successive governments over many years, and the result is care that is costly, difficult to access, and too often not personalised to people’s needs.
We recognise and welcome the progress made to address the catastrophic costs of care and improve the standard of care people draw on. We will work with governments across the UK, asking them to follow through on their commitments and ensure the care system is reflective of the needs of people living with dementia.
We need to see clear action on:
- A sustainable funding model for quality personalised care which pools the risk of care costs.
- A social care workforce strategy that delivers what everyone living with dementia wants from care.
- Improved support for unpaid carers through assessments and appropriate breaks.
People with dementia can experience discharges that are inappropriate, unsafe, and untimely. This can lead to significant challenges, both for people and their families, as well as the wider health and social care system. These challenges can include physical and mental deconditioning, hospital readmission and premature admission to care homes.
We need national and local discharge processes and models to work for people with dementia. This means people not staying in hospital for longer than necessary, and being discharged with the right information and advice after a holistic assessment. They should also be discharged to a place of their choosing and with the appropriate onward care and support in place.
We want to see better data collection and sharing, alongside greater involvement of the voluntary sector to support discharge, and guidance on leaving hospital that enshrines patient choice and recognises the specific needs of people with dementia and their carers.
Become an influencer
We work to give people affected by dementia a voice. Find out how you can help us influence change in your local area.
- Page last reviewed: