Mar 3, 2011

Over half a million people will have undiagnosed dementia in 2021

In 2021, over half a million people will be living with dementia that has gone undiagnosed....
Alzheimer's Reading Room

A new partnership between Tesco, Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer Scotland has for the first time mapped the state of dementia and diagnosis levels in the UK and announced bold plans to help fight the disease. Together, they plan to raise £5million to build a better future for people with dementia and help to raise diagnosis levels from just 40% by 2014.

The new 'Mapping the Dementia Gap' study reveals the number of people with dementia in each part of the UK and the percentage who receive a diagnosis. A formal diagnosis is vital for people with dementia and without it they can't access drugs or advice on how to live more effectively with the condition. But many people delay seeking help because of low awareness of symptoms and treatments or fear they will lose their independence.

The Tesco Charity of the Year partnership, launched today (1st March) will fund new research, dementia support professionals to help those living with the condition, and a Dementia Community Roadshow that will travel around the UK raising awareness of dementia and encouraging people worried about their memory to visit their GPs.

Available in an interactive map at, the research shows that diagnosis rates vary hugely around the UK:

Over a million people are predicted to have dementia in 2021.

Dorset has the lowest rates of diagnosis with only a quarter (26%) of people really knowing they have dementia. Two thirds (69%) of people living in Belfast with dementia have had a diagnosis.
In 2021, the study predicts that if the current rates of diagnosis don't change, Milton Keynes will have the biggest gap between people predicted to be living with dementia (3,116) and those who will receive a diagnosis (only 38%). In contrast, Belfast is still predicted to have the smallest diagnosis gap.

Milton Keynes is the fastest growing area and can expect a 56% increase in people living with the condition. Barking & Dagenhamis the slowest growing area with slightly fewer people predicted to be living with dementia in ten years time than now.

Fiona Phillips, Alzheimer's Society ambassador and journalist said;
'It's shocking that so many people are struggling to cope with this devastating illness all on their own. If we don't raise awareness of dementia, in ten years time, half a million people will be unable to give their symptoms a name and have no access to the help they so desperately need and deserve.' 
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive, Alzheimer's Society says:
'It's really concerning that six out of ten people with dementia don't have a diagnosis and so can't access the support they badly need. The money raised through the Tesco partnership will help us ensure people with dementia don't face it alone. Anyone who is concerned about their memory should visit their GP. If you'd like our Roadshow to visit a Tesco near you, visit us at and let us know.'
David Reid, Chairman, Tesco said:
'There are 750,000 people living with dementia. This means that almost half of our staff and customers have a loved one or friend with dementia, so we are proud to have the opportunity to work with the Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Scotland to make a real and lasting difference to their lives, from diagnosis through to treatment.'
Yvonne Wilson cares for her husband Derek, 78, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease three years ago. Yvonne, from Essex, says:
'We were both worried about Derek's memory for ages and feared going to our GP about it but it was the best thing we could have done. Derek now has access to the support and treatment he needs to live independently and the legal advice was invaluable.'
Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said:
'With our ageing population and the high number of people who never receive a diagnosis for their dementia, the need for raising awareness and encouraging people to seek help has never been greater. This initiative with Tesco, Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer Scotland is exactly the kind of partnership working we need to get out into communities and encourage people to talk about dementia.'

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an X Wall Street executive turned full time Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,310 articles with more than 285,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room