The Trajectory of Dementia in the UK - Making a Difference

Lewis, F., Karlsberg Schaffer, S., Sussex, J., O'Neill, P. and Cockcroft, L.

Consulting Report
June 2014

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

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 likelyto double over the next 25 years, reaching 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. Much of this cost is the time given by informal carers to look after loved ones with dementia. By 2050, the UK will need about 1.7 million informal carers, more than twice the estimated 700,000 currently providing care.

OHE’s model shows how new interventions to prevent and treat dementia could change this picture dramatically. 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.