“The Cost of Dementia”

The cost of dementia is worn on the faces of the thousands of sufferers and their relatives.  It is also a worry in the back of most older people’s minds in terms of how they might cope financially if one of their family succumbs to this often long drawn out illness.  Yet in spite of the pandemic scale of this disease – 35 million sufferers world-wide – progress towards a cure is slow and investment in research is low.

In reviewing the latest literature on dementia, perhaps the most useful information I have found is contained in a report by Kings College, London, written for the charity Alzheimer’s Disease International.  It focuses on the cost of treating the illness and the potential savings to the NHS:-

  • Early diagnosis would save £6,175 per sufferer
  • Including all the estimated undiagnosed people, this could save nearly £2.8 billion

Early diagnosis is the key, because this has the potential to prevent sufferers being admitted to hospital.  Hospital admission is especially expensive for elderly dementia patients because they tend to stay longer.  To compound the problem, they often develop other conditions such as incontinence and pressure sores.  This in turn frequently means that when they are discharged, their care needs have increased to the point where they can no longer cope at home.  The next step is a prolonged and expensive stay for the rest of their lives in residential care.

The exposure of the scale of these financial figures may well be the evidence needed to persuade the Government to commit more resources to researching accurate early diagnosis.  This could then enable sufferers and their supporters to adopt better coping strategies in the early stage of the disease.


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1 Response to “The Cost of Dementia”

  1. one of the problems the greater family have to face with dementia, is when there is only one surviving relative or loved one. As one approaches the ravages of age, one has quietly to think of many things and to some extent talk out the demons in the detail. To some extent wardened housing to my understanding was one the gift of the local authorities, and was means tested?
    What one may have to face as partners is how they get the companship of a wardened controlled housing environment with the support that is needed from the local authority and the greater family.
    In this modern world one can purchase a Macathy Stone or other property in a local community: It may serve a housing need, but it is not a wardened controlled scheme and maynot address the problems of care, and companionship-It is not for everyone?
    One and ones partner can contiue to live in a 3 bedroom mansion, but it may echo and be desolate of loved ones, except in memories, and one has to force oneself to commit to change while one has the ability. Hanover Housing offers some good alternatives in a copy cat type scheme for the elderly in some 25/30 bungalows are built on common ground with a warden for 5 days a week. Again this idea is grand and assists those as does Stone Macthy with modest means.
    What the schemes lack is the people with whom one can make friends with, and the local general facilities on the site (As one grows older and becomes berieved) where one can meeting, discuss, entertain and have the support of organised care in the home.
    One may look in horror, and think not not a residential home or nursing home again, but look carefully at all that is provided at asocicial cost and mix that gives a mixed socitey, intergrated with social, and income and ethnic mixes.
    Challenges ones self and look around, it does cost but there is something for every one, you just need to knock on the right door and lift the appropriate pebble/stone. Dementia as I have witness with my close family, is scarey, but it is companship and support 24 hrs a day and security which is important. It calls for some hard choices, and while one looks at the older generation, one should also look to ones self when I become older? As a family you are strong, and yet you need each each generation of a family to be strong for peace of mind and independence: One has to talk these things through as a family and as an individual.
    My peace of mind look at THe Extracare Charitable Trust for ideas on thier website. It may seem grand and ostentatious, but in our case it does work. For residential homes with care we have found the Anchor Trust have offered solaced to my mother and the greated family. You may ask why is my mother not with The Extracare Charitable Trust? For one she lives in an area they donot cover, and secondly the residential home as a widow after respite care in her home town gave her companship, care and security which is what she asked for.
    My message to you all is mixed: There is no simple solution to old age and dementia, it will cost, and one has to look upon it as a challenge and a business opportuinty, and be wise how you make that choice. Money in the bank/propertyearns interest, not friend and companship, which is what you may be seeking. While you can vote and influance change the system for old age living, Get off your backside and chalenge the polictical world around us for a better stand of understanding of living for the elderly in the UK.
    Here endeth my sermon.

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