Dementia facts

Posted on: 20 May 2013 by 50connect editorial

42% of people in the UK believe there is no available treatment for dementia. Understand the disease that costs the nation £23 billion a year.

MRI scan of brainHow much do you know about dementia? Do you know that Alzheimer's is just one form of the disease. The UK has an ageing population and by 2021 there will be more than one million people living with the disease.

Research for the Dementia 2012 report, found that many older people in the UK chose not to think about dementia or how they would cope if they or their partner developed the condition.

However, with 63% of people not confident about telling the difference between the signs of dementia and the normal signs of ageing, here are a few dementia facts to help demystify the disease.

Facts about dementia

  • Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain with symptoms including loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech and understanding. It is progressive and eventually terminal. 
  • The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease which accounts for around two thirds of all cases. More information about the condition, including symptoms, can be found at www.nhs.uk/dementia
  • Six out of ten people with dementia in England go undiagnosed. This means almost 400,000 people could be going without the vital support the NHS and social care services can offer.
  • In England today 670,000 people are living with dementia. This the number is increasing with one in three people set to develop dementia in the future. 
  • The economic cost of dementia is £19 billion a year – more than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined. Only 42 per cent of people in England with dementia have actually been given a proper diagnosis. There is huge variation across the country from 29 per cent in some areas to around 67 per cent in the best. 

Key research findings:

Research carried out on 868 adults by Mori for the Department of Health, September 2012 found:

  • 90% of people interviewed believe that dementia symptoms are easier to treat the earlier they are diagnosed. However, 42% believe there is currently no treatment available to help people with dementia;
  • 60% of those interviewed say they do not know enough about dementia to help someone who has it;
  • 97% of those interviewed believe dementia can happen to anyone; and
  • 87% people interviewed believe that with the right treatment, the progress of dementia can be slowed.
  • 50% of people interviewed would find it hard to talk about dementia to a friend or family member they thought might have the condition;
  • 33% say that personal concerns (such as fear of upsetting someone or feeling awkward or anxious) would discourage them from talking about dementia or memory loss with a friend or relative;
  • 86% say they would be likely to talk to a close friend or family member affected by memory loss which was disrupting their daily life; and
  • 46% of those interviewed say they would rather not think about dementia.

 

Find out more about dementia

The more you know about dementia, the more comfortable you will feel spending time with the person with dementia or their loved ones. Dementia can make people behave differently, but once you understand that these changes are part of the illness, you will find it much easier to take them in your stride. Visit Understanding Dementia.

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