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  • The economic impact of dementia – Module 1: Annual costs of dementia (13 May 2024)

    Article information
    • UK
    • Reports and articles
    • Pre-existing
    • Original author
    • No
    • Alzheimer’s Society and Carnall Farrar
    • 13/05/24
    • Everyone


    This report, commissioned by Alzheimer’s Society from Carnall Farrar, sets out estimates of current and future economic and healthcare costs of dementia in the UK. It breaks down this data by cost type, dementia severity and the regions of England and the devolved nations.


    This report states that the cost of dementia in the UK is forecast to be £42 billion in 2024, increasing to £90 billion by 2040. There are currently 982,000 people estimated to be living with dementia in the UK, and this projected cost figure is based off this rising to 1.4 million people by 2040. The forecasted increase in dementia prevalence and cost is due to population growth, an aging population, and projected increases in the real-terms unit prices of care, especially social care.

    Key findings

    • The largest cost associated with dementia is the cost of unpaid care, which accounts for 50% of the total in 2024.
    • Unpaid care costs increase with severity as patients start to require more support and caregiver surveillance, growing from £9,700 a year for people with mild dementia to £32,300 a year for people with severe dementia. These costs are exclusively borne by patients and their carers.
    • Social care costs are driven largely by residential care - an additional 76,000 people are projected to be living in a residential home and 30,000 in a nursing home in 2040 compared to today. The number of people receiving domiciliary care is expected to increase by 43%, with many people with moderate dementia requiring care.
    • Healthcare costs make up 14% of total dementia costs, with almost half (£3.5billion) attributed to secondary care. Diagnostic imaging, including MRI, CT, PET and neuropsychology tests, currently only makes up a very small fraction of total healthcare cost at 1.1%


    The report suggests a pressing need to influence policy and drive change across five areas:

    1. Improve early and accurate diagnosis - less than 65% of people with dementia are diagnosed, most without confirmatory testing.

    • Improve screening to identify more cases earlier.
    • Increase the use of imaging and cerebrospinal tests for confirmation.
    • Enable earlier action by families and readiness for available treatments.

    2. Adopt existing and emerging therapies - it is estimated less than 6% of dementia patients are on NICE-approved medications.

    • Support patients and families to make lifestyle modifications.
    • Ensure full uptake of NICE approved medicines – today and in future.

    3. Support unpaid care - by 2040, over half a million people will need unpaid care, with 70% of carers seeking more support.

    • Increase funding for respite, support and carer training.
    • Adopt a strategic focus in local areas to proactively identify and support carers.

    4. Improve social care - social care is of variable quality and can be a financial burden on self funders.

    • Focus on enabling and providing high quality domiciliary care.
    • Ensure adequate funding and workforce now and in the future to meet unmet need.
    • Enable collaborative working across health and care organisations.

    5. Improve dementia data capture - there are significant gaps in critical data collections, including records of social and unpaid care provided.

    • Improve data capture of disease progression and care provision – including informal care.
    • Create cohort datasets to measure the impact of new treatments and initiatives.
    The economic impact of dementia – Module 1: Annual costs of dementia (13 May 2024) https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/sites/default/files/2024-05/the-annual-costs-of-dementia.pdf
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