OHE Consulting Report on the Trajectory of Dementia in the UK

Alzheimer’s Research UK commissioned OHE Consulting to model the growing prevalence and costs of dementia in the UK and the impact that new treatments could have were they to be introduced from 2020.

Today over 800,000 people aged 60 and over are living with dementia in the UK. The risk of developing dementia increases greatly with age, from around 1% of men and 1.5% of women in their sixties to more than a quarter of men and a third of women aged 90 and over. The ageing of the UK population, then, will mean an increasing number of people living with dementia.

Based on the latest official UK population projections and the most authoritative estimates of the prevalence of dementia, OHE Consulting built a model to project the number of people with dementia in the UK to 2050. The model then was used to project the health and social care costs of dementia. The results show that unless ways are found to prevent or cure dementia, the number or people in the UK aged 60 and over who will be living with dementia is likely to double over the next 25 years and reach two million by 2050.

The economic cost to the UK of caring for people with dementia is estimated to grow correspondingly from £24 billion in 2014 to £59 billion (at constant prices) by 2050. A large part of the cost of care is the time given up by informal carers to look after loved ones with dementia; the UK will need around 1.7 million informal carers by 2050 compared to the around 700,000 currently giving care.

OHE’s model shows how new interventions to prevent and treat dementia could radically change this picture. Delaying the onset of dementia by five years in the UK from 2020 could reduce the projected number of people with dementia in 2050 by one third (666,000) and reduce the need for informal carers by 566,000; costs of care would be £21 billion lower in 2050 (£38 billion rather than £59 billion).

Even if it were not possible to delay the onset of dementia, slowing the rate at which it progresses – from mild to moderate to severe – would bring major improvements in quality of life and less premature mortality from dementia.

Download Lewis, F., Schaffer, S.K., Sussex, J., O’Neill, P. and Cockcroft, L., 2014. The trajectory of dementia in the UK – making a difference. Consulting Report. London: Office of Health Economics.

For additional information, please contact Jon Sussex at OHE.  

For an associated policy report by Alzheimer’s Research UK click here.

Posted in Health Care Systems, OHE Consulting, Other Public Policy | Tagged Consulting Reports