70% rise in dementia cases predicted by 2033

The number of elderly people with dementia in the UK is set to rise by 70% over the next 20 years, according to a recently released report.

Published by the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network, an NHS programme, the study analysed mortality figures for cases where dementia and related conditions were recorded as an underlying or contributory cause. Comparing their findings against the projected 3.2 million growth in the number of people aged 75 or over by 2033, the researchers found that the number of people with dementia is set to skyrocket.

Currently some 1.2% of the entire population suffers from dementia, an estimated 614,000 individuals. This figure is set to rise a staggering 72% by the 2030s according to the report, which predicts that by 2033 the proportion of dementia sufferers will have grown to 1.8%.

Many of those in social care jobs will be familiar with the demands of caring for these sufferers, who often struggle to understand their situation and to communicate with care staff and even family members. The dramatic growth expected over the next two decades will create ever greater demand for staff with specialist training such as those in physiotherapy jobs or dietitian jobs, who will be needed to help keep sufferers as healthy and active as possible.

Claire Henry, director of the programme, notes that the rise will also require those in residential support worker jobs to be given “appropriate training and support” for end of life care and the “particular challenges of caring for people with dementia.”

The report notes that elderly people with dementia are at greater risk than those without, even in a care home environment. Ms Henry says that care homes will need to be managed by “professionals who can assess a person’s needs and support him or her in advance care planning.”