Dementia is an encompassing term for complex conditions that affect the brain and can impact problem-solving, memory and speech. These can cause a decline in a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks such as washing and dressing.[1]

This year, 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK. However, in the next five years, this number is expected to exceed 1 million.[2]

model of two elderly people on a stack of coins

Currently, dementia costs the UK £34.7bn a year, with those affected by dementia and their loved ones covering two-thirds of these costs. In contrast, care for other conditions such as heart disease are seen as a health care issue, rather than social care and as such are free as the NHS covers them.[3]

At present, people living with dementia must fund their care unless they have assets under £23,250.[4] Dementia care can be 40% more expensive than other forms of social care, and consequently, those with dementia on average spend £100,000 on their care. Alzheimer’s Society has estimated that it would take someone 125 to save up enough money to completely cover the expense of their care (based on the same rate as a pension).[5]

Dementia includes complex conditions, and as a result dementia care is unique to each person.[6] The cost of care depends on a variety of factors that can include whereabouts in the UK a person living with dementia is based, what form of care is required (e.g. home care, supported living or nursing care), and the provider of the care package. Factors such as hours of care or days required are also included as weekends can cost more.[7] As such, organisations can charge more than usual for care if a person is living with dementia.

If a care home is selected for someone with dementia, this can cost the recipient and their loved ones between £600-1,200 per week- with dementia care costing a minimum of £20 per hour. Depending on the age and health of the care recipient, they could experience these costs for many years, causing substantial financial losses.[8] - In 2019 the average price of staying in a care home in the UK was over £33,500 per year. Care homes charge fees at the same rate they deliver care, which is 24 hours each day all year round. These costs worked out on average at £33,813.60 a year, or £47,304 annually if someone with dementia required nursing care.[9] 

If the care recipient has assets exceeding £23,250, then they will be expected to pay for the entirety of their care fees. If assets are below £14,250, then the council will assist with some of the costs.[10]

In Nottinghamshire, the cost of dementia care is expected to double in the next ten years, from £479 million to £826 million in 2030.[11] Alzheimer’s Society Area Manager, Nasim Minhas emphasised that “The social care system is unfair and unfit for people living with dementia… For far too long families have been privately struggling to care for their loved ones with dementia, left to pick up the pieces of a social care system that is coming apart at the seams.[12]

The charity Alzheimer’s Society is pressing for £8 billion in adult social care funding by 2021 as part of its Fix Dementia Care campaign. The organisation believes that £2.65 billion could be utilised to improve the financial support and emotional wellbeing of those living with dementia, and their families.[13]

 



[1] https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/types-dementia/what-dementia

[2] https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/blog/how-much-does-dementia-care-cost

[3] https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-us/policy-and-influencing/what-we-think/dementia-tax

[4] Ibid.

[5] https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/sites/default/files/2018-05/Dementia%20the%20true%20cost%20-%20Alzheimers%20Society%20report.pdf p.11

[6] https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/blog/how-much-does-dementia-care-cost

[7]  https://www.payingforcare.org/how-much-does-care-cost/

[8] https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-us/policy-and-influencing/what-we-think/dementia-tax

[9] https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/legal-financial/care-home-fees

[10] Ibid.

[11] https://www.nottinghampost.com/news/local-news/family-speaks-out-over-cost-3878659

[12]  Ibid

[13] https://www.expressandstar.com/news/health/2020/02/22/pleas-for-funding-boost-as-dementia-care-costs-threaten-to-soar/