NOT-for-profit care provider Diagrama Foundation has been reviewing the findings of a UCL-led report about dementia and assessing how they will need to prepare for the predicted rise in numbers.
The UCL report, published in October 2023 predicted that by 2040, the number of dementia cases could be 42% higher than previously estimated, meaning that in just six years’ time up to 1.7 million people could be living with dementia in England and Wales. The team at Diagrama Foundation has been looking closely at the impact that the predicted increase in numbers of dementia cases, will have for their team of carers.
David McGuire, Chief Executive of care provider Diagrama Foundation, which has a supported living service in Bromley, three homes for adults with learning disabilities in Orpington, an eight-bed care home for adults with learning disabilities in West Sussex and a fifty-bed care home for the elderly with nursing and dementia needs in Essex has been working closely with his team to plan for the expected rise in those living with dementia.
David McGuire, Chief Executive, of Diagrama Foundation said:
“The predictions for such a high jump in dementia cases is concerning. Not only will care providers have to prepare for the 42% increase in cases across England and Wales, but because everyone with dementia develops differently, there will be a need to create individual care plans for each person too. Diagrama has a strong person-centred approach and methodology, so we can adapt our care for individuals, but there will be some care teams who are unused to this way of working and this predicted increase in patients will hit them hard.
“Many people think primarily of the elderly having dementia, but we also have to factor in that people with learning disabilities are getting older too. This extended life expectancy is indeed very good news, however, people with a learning disability are more likely to get dementia at a younger age.”
Figures from the Alzheimer’s Society report; that about 1 in 5 people with learning disabilities who are over the age of 65 will develop dementia and people with Down’s syndrome have an even higher risk, with about 2 in 3 people over the age of 60 developing dementia, usually Alzheimer’s disease.
David McGuire continued:
“Not only are we looking at additional accommodation but we will need to factor in additional staffing levels and comprehensive training for our new recruits. We are already extending our Duckyls Farm care home for adults with learning disabilities to create two new bedrooms and we are looking at how we can use the facilities on our 100-acre site to support the local community.”
The Alzheimer’s Society explains that the cost of dementia to the UK is currently £34.7 billion a year, which works out as an average annual cost of £32,250 per person with dementia.
David McGuire added:
“On 30 November, the Minister for Health and Secondary Care Andrew Stephenson MP, visited the UK Dementia Research Institute at White City. The Institute brings together scientists, doctors and engineers to develop a range of innovative smart technologies from artificial intelligence, to sleep monitoring, to enable people affected by dementia to live safely and independently in their own homes. As the numbers with dementia increase there will undoubtedly be a need for more people to live in their own homes for longer, meaning the Institute’s work to develop technologies that allow for improved health and sleep and reduced confusion and agitation is vital.”
Lead author of the UCL report, Dr Yuntao Chen (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care), said:
“It is shocking to think that the number of people living with dementia by 2040 may be up to 70% higher than if dementia incidence had continued to decline.
“Not only will this have a devastating effect on the lives of those involved but it will also put a considerably larger burden on health and social care than current forecasts predict.”
David McGuire concluded:
“Despite these concerning statistics, Diagrama Foundation has the experience to adapt. Many vulnerable adults don’t get the support they need to develop their true potential, but the Diagrama team know that when someone has time and belief invested in them, they come alive, because that investment has made them feel valued and worthy.”
To find out more about how the Diagrama Foundation supports people living with dementia or a learning disability, please visit: www.diagramafoundation.org.uk.