Dementia victims to double every 20 years
A CHARITY today called for £15 million to be given annually to a fund to help dementia sufferers as experts predicted the number of victims will almost double every 20 years.
Alzheimer Scotland is urging for the amount each year for the next five years to transform dementia services. The body wants a "radical overhaul" as it forecast the number of people with the condition in Scotland could rise by 60,000 in a generation.
And the latest research by Alzheimer's Disease International, published today, predicts the number of people with dementia will almost double every 20 years across the world.
The study estimates that the number of people with dementia and Alzheimer's will reach 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050. A total of 35.6 million people will have dementia in 2010, the report said.
The plea for a 15m "change fund" is the key element of a new manifesto being launched by Alzheimer's Scotland to mark World Alzheimer's Day today.
The charity says the cost of dementia in Scotland was around 1.7 billion in 2007 and is projected to increase to 2.7bn by 2031. Delaying the onset of dementia would have a "significant impact" on the social and economic cost of the disease.
Alzheimer Scotland said the fund would help local authorities and NHS boards unlock and redirect resources into early intervention and personalised support for victims and carers.
Chief executive Henry Simmons said: "There is no greater public health issue than dementia. An increase in numbers from nearly 70,000 today to around 127,000 within a generation leaves us with no option but to prepare, plan and provide for increasing need and demand.
"We can meet these needs – but we must act decisively and we must act now. Current services are not cost-effective as they often intervene too late, when the person has already reached crisis stage, and result in an approach which is largely crisis-led. In the long term we want to see a much greater move towards individual budgets and self-directed support.
"However, in the short-to-medium term, we need a real strengthening of services to support people at an earlier stage."
The charity is also calling for the UK and Scottish governments to increase funding for research. Studies suggest that if symptoms can be delayed by five years, health and social care budgets would be halved.
Alzheimer Scotland is also urging local authorities to commission specialist community services and end the large-scale tendering for generic services that include people with dementia. And it warned that cuts to public spending could have a "devastating impact" on local authority service provision.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Dementia is a national priority. We've already taken decisive action to set a national target on early diagnosis, are investing in support immediately after diagnosis and have issued specialist guidance on dementia patients to A&Es and acute hospitals.
"As Scots are living longer, the number of people affected by dementia is likely to increase by around three quarters over the next two decades. That's why planning for the future is vital."
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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