Lest we forget

Dementia is an illness which through its actions society most wants to forget.  The forgotten army are the hundreds of thousands of carers, usually spouses or devoted daughters desperately holding on to a loved-one who is slowly disappearing before their eyes.  They receive little help or understanding and indeed may well disguise what is happening for fear of embarrassing their husband, wife, mother or father.  Until the burden becomes too great or their own health suffers and they are no longer able to cope.

The scale of this unfolding tragedy is seldom spoken about because the reality of the numbers is overwhelming and society’s response is so inadequate.  There is no cure and few therapies are available.  Nonetheless, this is all the more reason to encourage an open discussion and to seek more research into both a cure and more positive treatment.

A study by Oxford University at least provides some of the facts:-

35 million people worldwide have been diagonosed with dementia.

822,000 people in Britain are believed to have dementia.

60% of British sufferers have Alzheimer’s Disease.

Only 31% are being treated by the NHS.

37% are in long term care.

14% of women aged 80-84 have dementia

36% of women aged 95-99 have dementia

Two thirds of sufferers are not receiving any treatment for the disease from the Health Service.


Let’s look at the estimated costs:-

£27,646 is the annual cost of each dementia patient.

£1.2 billion is spent on dementia by the NHS.

£9 billion is the Social Services’ cost.

£12.4 billion is the value of unpaid carers (relatives)

£23 billion is the total annual cost of dementia care.

–   this is twice the cost of cancer care

–   and three times the cost of heart disease

Now the real travesty and why I say this is a forgotten problem.  As a society we spend just £61 on research for each person with dementia.  A total of £50 million a year on research, which sounds a lot until you realise that £590 million is spent annually on cancer research.

We can no longer hide this issue under the carpet.  Our ageing population is only going to significantly increase the problem.

Time for a radical re-think, don’t you think ?

This entry was posted in Dementia, HEALTH and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Lest we forget

  1. History Lesson John, please? Is this your very first blog on this site? I have used the portal for when and what month, and come to this article: Have things changed? Not very much I fear, lonliness and alhzimiers and dementure may be, and are now as subjects more open to discussion, and not swept under the carpet. All these subjects are interlinked I fear, as we all fail to see the frailities of old age, unless we are at sea and with them who suffer and now fail to understand one and other because we may have lost the mental capacity to show our emotions, and thoughts in a controlled and rational manner!
    As a youngster i was informed by the then older generation, life is like a wheel, and each generation relives the thoughts and misdeed of the previous generations! are we now in that position?
    Looking at the press and media certain of us are Property millionaires, with no cash, and yet we expect society to pay for our welfare, kids school fees, and NHS problems: something has to give and as society as a whole IN GB/UK we need a kick ‘up the arse!’ or provebial backside to see in reality what is important in life? Not an easy solution, with the money and investment markets taking ones deposits and earnings and offering nothing or no incentives to save other than in a brick built ‘____–house’ which once the family have flown the nest, costs a fortune to heat, and the younger generation cannot afford to buy? It is all a conundrum? for us all to solve: Meanwhile I with my older friends and colleagues march on, and find the pension income I may have thought I had being taxed for the welfare benifits of GB/UK, Life is not fair or just??
    I must soldier on and come to the next blog and see it their is light at the end of the tunnel?
    As a wise one before John! some where within these blogs you have mentioned or indicated that one has to start thing about old age and retiement when one is yonger anf in ones mid twenties/early thirties, as by the time one is in a mid life crisiss things have passed one buy, and one has become part of the problem

    • john graham says:

      Nice one David, you are right, this is the first blog post I ever made and sadly nothing much has improved in the five years since ! In relation particularly to dementia, if any thing the situation has got worse. More people are left at home with no support. Day centres have closed and domiciliary care has deteriorated into 5 minute visits.
      The unspoken State solution to dementia seems to be neglect. Shortly to be followed by State sponsored euthanasia if Lord Falconers’ Assisted suicide bill is approved.

      The only smile behind this grumble is that we are all still here to complain about it 🙂

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