The cost of dementia to the UK has now reached £26 billion a year.
The majority of this cost has fallen unfairly on patients, carers and their families, states a new report from the Alzheimer’s Society.
A review of dementia in UK was done by the London School of Economics and King’s College London. Their findings founds that two thirds of the related costs to dementia are covered by patients and carers. The £26 billion also includes a £5.8 billion social care bill for help with everyday tasks such as, get washed and dressed. The reveiw also states that approximately there are 1.3 billion hours of unpaid care that carers provide and that would cost the state a huge £11.6 billion.
£4.3 billion is the bill for the NHS when providing dementia diagnosis and treatment and also local authorities footing the bill of a further £4.5 billion. These figures are set to continue rising as the numbers affected by dementia soar. Reports suggest that by 2015 850,000 people will be suffering from dementia and by 2051 the figure will have shot past two million people affected.
In separate survey by the charity of 1,000 patients with the disease, 61% of patients said they had felt anxious or depressed recently, while 43% of those being cared for said their carers receive no help, further highlighting the need to address significant unmet need.
The chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society Jeremy Hughes, said the findings expose “the staggering financial and human impact of the condition. It is plain to see that our social care system is on its knees, leaving an army of tens of thousands of unpaid carers bearing the brunt,” he said, and argued that it is unfair that families are forced to “break the bank” to look after dementia patients while those suffering from other illnesses such cancer get their care for free.
“These spiralling costs cannot continue unchecked…we need radical solutions and serious funding commitments to put social care on a sustainable footing,”
The charity is calling for a successor to the Prime Minister’s Challenge on dementia. The challenge is due to end in six months, with aims of; a 66% dementia diagnosis rate across all areas, a 12 week limit on first GP visit to diagnosis and for every patient diagnosed with dementia, they receive access to a Dementia Advisor.
This week the G7 Global Dementia Legacy Event is due to take place in Canada. At this event experts will discuss progress from the previous G8 Summit on Dementia Research, the goal from that summit was to find a cure a disease modifying treatment by 2025.
Elsewhere, new research has looked into the connection of using benzodiazepines, which are commonly used to treat insomnia and anxiety, and boosting the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The study which has been published by BMJ this week, found that the risk of Alzheimer’s increased from 43% to 51% in older people who had been using the drugs for a previous five year period, the risk would be increased when the drugs had been taken for a longer period of time.
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