NICE have produced guidance covering mid-life approaches to delay or prevent the onset of dementia, disability and frailty in later life. It aims to increase the amount of time that people can be independent, healthy and active and focuses on the importance of moving away from thinking of dementia as simply an inevitable part of ageing.
There are already 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. An estimated 21 million people in England have a close friend or family member living with dementia. So directly or indirectly, it will soon affect every one of us.
Perhaps that’s why dementia is now considered the most feared health condition for people over the age of 55 more than any other major disease, including cancer.
As well as the health and social costs of dementia there is growing concern about the economic costs, particularly at a time of tightening budgets.
The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that the annual cost of dementia to society in the UK is £26.3 billion. This corresponds to an average cost per person of £32,250 annually. This is made up of a cost of £5,300 in healthcare and £12,500 in social care costs.