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Dementia care costs to treble in next two decades

People will have higher care needs for longer as population ages

The cost of social care for people with dementia will nearly treble over the next two decades, a report has warned.

The study from the London School of Economics and Political Science, commissioned by Alzheimer’s Society, calculates that the number of people with dementia in the UK is expected to nearly double to 1.6 million people by 2040, while the cost of dementia care will almost triple to £45.4bn 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, it said.

The report predicts that as the population ages a higher proportion of people with dementia will have higher care needs for longer, driving up the average amount spent on care.

Currently, £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 have to sell their homes to pay for it.

The report also found that families are providing £13.9bn a year in unpaid care for people with dementia, which will increase to £35.7bn by 2040.

Alzheimer’s Society is calling for all political parties to commit to radically reform dementia care. It said it should be funded like other public services, such as the NHS and education, where the cost is shared across society.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said it is not right that people going through dementia 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,” he added.