The number of older people living with dementia in England is expected to more than double (up 108%) by 2040, according to new research from the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre (CPEC) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Newcastle University.
Findings from the study, published last week in Age and Ageing, also project that the cost of caring for people living with dementia will more than treble (an increase of 249%) over the next two decades.
The study’s findings mark an advance on earlier estimates and represent the most up-to-date projections to 2040 of older people living with dementia and the cost of their care in England.
To produce these projections, the research team used models to simulate future trends in risk factors and cognitive function in old age and to link dementia and disability to unpaid care, service use, and costs. The modelling was part of the Modelling outcome and costs impacts of interventions for dementia (MODEM) study.
The number of older people living with dementia in England is expected to more than double by 2040.
Raphael Wittenberg, who led the projections of costs, said: "The projected rise in number of people aged 75 and over and 85 and over has fuelled concern about how to plan for, and finance, the care of rising numbers of people living with dementia. Such planning requires accurate projections of future numbers of people with dementia and future costs of providing quality care for them."
Older people living with severe dementia will increase in numbers more rapidly than those living with mild or moderate dementia, according to the findings. This means that the number of people living in care homes will rise sharply, increasing the costs of social care much faster than healthcare and unpaid care by 2040.
The average cost per person living with dementia is already substantial, but will rise from £35,110 in 2015 to £58,860 in 2040 (at constant 2015 prices). This is partly because of the increase in the proportion of people with more severe dementia, and therefore more costly, care.
Mr Wittenberg said: "Our findings highlight the importance of measures to prevent or slow the progression of dementia, including research to develop disease modifying treatments. It is also vital that we invest in research to develop clinically and cost-effective interventions to support people with dementia and their carers so that they can live well in their own homes and as independently as possible. Action is needed now to gear up health and social care systems to cope with the future challenges."
Behind the article
‘Projections of care for older people with dementia in England: 2015 to 2040’ by Raphael Wittenberg, Bo Hu, Carol Jagger, Andrew Kingston, Martin Knapp, Adelina Comas-Herrera, Derek King, Amritpal Rehill and Sube Banerjee, was published in Age and Ageing in December, 2019.
This paper forms part of a series of findings from the MODEM study funded jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research between 2014 and 2019.