Dementia 2013: The hidden voice of loneliness

Smiling women

Dementia 2013: The hidden voice of loneliness was Alzheimer’s Society’s second annual report looking at the quality of life for people with dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Like Dementia 2012: A national challenge, it provided a snapshot of how well people were living with their dementia.  It also focused on the impact of loneliness and social isolation on people living with the condition, particularly for those living alone.

Dementia 2013 has now been updated by Dementia 2014: Opportunity for change

What did the report find? Dementia 2013

There have been some developments which have had a positive impact on the quality of life of people with dementia:

  • 44% of people with dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have a diagnosis.  This has increased from last year, but by only 3%.
  • In England, the mandate from the government to the NHS Commissioning Board includes an objective to make measurable progress on improving the rates of timely diagnosis.
  • The number of inappropriate prescriptions for antipsychotic medication to people with dementia had been reduced by 52% between 2008 and 2011.
  • In England in 2013, there are 64 Dementia Adviser services.  In 2012, there were 35.

On the other hand, there is still work to do to ensure that the policies are turned into practice.  The research found that people with dementia are lonely and socially isolated:

  • Approaching two-thirds (61%) of people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland say they are living well with dementia. However, 17% said that they are not living well with dementia – the same number as chose this option last year. 
  • A third (33%) of people with dementia said they lost friends following a diagnosis.
  • More than a third (39%) of people with dementia responding to the survey said they felt lonely. Only a quarter (24%) of over 55s in the general public said they have felt lonely in the last month. 
  • Nearly two-thirds (62%) of people with dementia who live on their own said they felt lonely. Difficulties in maintaining social relationships and others features of dementia contributed to this.
Print this page