Dementia care costs to nearly treble in next two decades, as families struggle to cope
Total cost of dementia has soared to £34.7bn, including costs to NHS, social care costs and unpaid care.
The cost of social care for people with dementia will nearly treble over the next two decades, according a report published today, commissioned by Alzheimer’s Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
The research shows that, while the number of people with dementia in the UK is expected to nearly double to 1.6 million people by 2040, the cost of dementia care will almost triple to £45.4 billion from today’s cost of £15.7bn.
The total cost of dementia to the UK economy, including costs to the NHS, paid social care and unpaid care, has risen to £34.7bn and will rise further to £94.1bn by 2040.
The report predicts that as our population ages, a higher proportion of people with dementia will have higher care needs for longer, driving up the average amount spent on care
It shows £9bn a year (57%) in social care costs fall on people with dementia and their families. Previous research by Alzheimer’s Society has shown that someone with dementia will typically have to spend £100,000 on their care. Many are forced to sell their homes to pay for it.
The report also found that families are providing £13.9 bn a year in unpaid care for people with dementia, which will increase to £35.7 bn by 2040.
With the cost of dementia care set to treble by 2040, Alzheimer’s Society’s call ahead of the general election, from its Fix Dementia Care campaign, is for all political parties to commit to radically reform dementia care. It should be funded like other public services, such as the NHS and education, where the cost is shared across society, protecting individuals and their families from the devastating costs of specialist dementia care.
Alzheimer’s Society released the figures as it launches its election manifesto, ‘Demanding Action on Dementia’.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
'Dementia is heart-breaking 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.
'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?
'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.'
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.
Philip Scott’s mum Sylvia, 90, is in the late stages of dementia, and her house was sold to help pay for her care.
Philip, 59, a tour guide from London, said:
'Mum wouldn’t survive more than 48 hours without nursing care. Why has she had to spend £160,000 to make sure that doesn’t happen?
'The whole process of having to argue again and again why my mum needed support was really harrowing. It took three attempts before we managed to get Continuing Health Care funding for her, and even now we are afraid that the funding will be taken away.'
People with dementia have been sidelined and treated very differently to those with other diseases.
Today Alzheimer’s Society launched its manifesto ahead of the general election, ‘Demanding Action on Dementia’.
It calls for three commitments from the next government:
- Radically reform dementia care to address the specific needs of people with dementia, ending the daily injustice they, and their families, face in accessing the good quality care to which they are entitled.
- Ensure that people with dementia can participate in their communities on the same basis as everyone else.
- Close the research funding gap between dementia and other disease areas to ensure new treatments and life changing care interventions are available to everyone living with dementia, as soon as possible.
Alzheimer’s Society is calling on people to back their Fix Dementia Care campaign.