It has been estimated that there were approximately 800,000 people with dementia in the UK in 2012¹. Now (2015) the number has risen to 856,700 which is predicted to double in the next 25 years.
In 2005 it was recorded that dementia accounted for 3% of all deaths in England and Wales². This was where dementia was given as the cause of death on the death certificate. However, it is also estimated that if dementia had been included as a cause on the death certificate where it was not identified as the primary cause of death, four times as many people as this had dementia when they died. Dementia is now included as an underlying or contributory factor on death certificates.
People can live for many years with dementia, with the average time from diagnosis to death being 9-12 years. Frequently the diagnosis may be made late in the illness, so that in some instances dementia may last as long as 20 years. The symptoms of dementia can also be found in people with advanced Parkinson’s Disease. PARKINSON’S UK www.parkinsons.org.uk is a well established support and research charity that provides information, advice, support and helpful publications for people with Parkinson’s disease and their families.
One of the main risk factors for dementia is age, and given the ageing population of the United Kingdom, this means that the numbers of people suffering from dementia are estimated to continue to rise steeply.
Most people with dementia are cared for in their own family home during the early stages. Unpaid carers (mostly female family members) provide the majority of care in the community, saving taxpayers several billion pounds each year.
The majority of people with dementia and their carers express their preference to have health care delivered to them in their own family home. Given this scenario, and in conjunction with the national emphasis on people being given more choice about where they receive their health and social care, the benefits of a charity such as Hope for Home, with its stated objectives, seem both timely and appropriate.
1. Alzheimer’s Society (2012) Dementia: A National Challenge
2. Office of National Statistics (2005) England and Wales – cause of death as stated on death certificates.